Belle Grove Plantation will host a living history event commemorating the plantation’s African-American history from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Titled “Inalienable Rights: Free and Enslaved Blacks Crafting a Life in the Shenandoah Valley,” the event will cover how slaves contributed to the plantation’s success and will include up-to-date research on their contributions, according to Kristen Laise, the executive director of the plantation,

“The lives and legacy of the enslaved and free blacks who lived in the Shenandoah Valley in the 18th and 19th centuries must not be forgotten,” Laise said. “We look forward to this event as one way to honor their history.”

The event will feature demonstrations, interpretive programs, and talks from experts on the subject. Joseph McGill, who is the founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, will be one of the featured speakers at the event starting at 1 p.m.

Jerome Bias, of the Slave Dwelling Project, and Cheney McKnight, of Not Your Momma’s History, will conduct hearth cooking demonstrations starting at 11:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m., while Gilbert Walker will be doing blacksmithing demonstrations.

Other talks will include “Not Everyone Was Enslaved: The Freeborn of the Shenandoah Valley,” by Robin Lyttle, of the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project, and archeologist Matthew Greer will discuss an archeological investigation done on the plantation’s old slave quarters.

The day will end with the History at Sunset program by Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Ranger Shannon Moeck at 5 p.m. That will feature the latest findings about the Jackson family who were enslaved at the plantation and went on to buy their freedom.

As part of the program,  students and staff from Lord Fairfax Community College and Shenandoah University will be spending the night at the plantation.

If You Go

When:  10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Where: 336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown.

Admission: Free.

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