The two-room “slave cabin” in the African-American history museum was home to a family of 11
Isabella Meggett Lucas, 87, went to the new National Museum of African-America History and Culture to see, if the history there was right.
And how surprised she was when she saw a fairly familiar house. It was a two-room cabin, in which she and her family of 11 lived on Edisto Island, South Carolina. It was restored and installed in the museum.
“I never knew this all would come to pass,” she said to News4. “Everybody is excited and happy.”
Her cabin was the only one out of ten “slave cabins” from Point of Pines Plantation on Edisto Island, S.C. It originally was owned by a landowner named Charles Bailey, who acquired his wealth through slavery, said Nancy Bercaw, a curator at the museum.
The cabin is on display in the slavery and freedom section of the museum, but Lucas said she didn’t know while growing up that slaves had lived there. To them, it was just home.
Lucas shared her childhood memories about the house. He said that she and her 9 brothers lived in one room while her parents shared the other one. “When I was a child, we’d get out and play, and climb trees,” Lucas said. “I remember my grandmother cooking and feeding us.” Unlike today’s kids, back then main attractions for kids were outside the house: chores, games and playing with family animals.
The cabin never had electricity, so fetching wood for the stove was among the chores the Meggett kids did. It also did not have a refrigerator, bathroom or running water. They had a garden behind the house where they grew okra and beans, and they raised chickens and hogs for meat. Lucas said even though the house did not have much, the family was happy.
Lucas’ mother, who also was born in the cabin, moved out in 1981, when the owners sold it.
The cabin was given to the Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society and eventually passed on to the Smithsonian. It was taken apart piece by piece and reconstructed exactly as it stood when it was moved to the museum.
People like Lucas are actually living history. And we should never forget our history or “get over it.”