Preserving an important piece of American history

Architect and founder of “Saving Slave Houses,” Jobie Hill has made it her life’s mission to document and preserve the homes of enslaved people.
3:11 | 06/20/20

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Transcript for Preserving an important piece of American history
Across the country there are homes hiding painful memories their former residence slaves. But now there are renewed efforts to preserve these homes and honor those that lived inside them. Architect Joseph B hill isn't walking through just any house so this. Think it upstairs in his face he couldn't do in fact she's on the far Sally a plantation in Virginia. Where enslaved people lived some 200 years ago. Her flashlight illuminates a dark chapter in American history still turned us. Through the ceiling crack she's learning about the lives of those slaves who lived here documenting every nook and cranny. Just as she's done nearly 100 times before. There are wide and 221. At sites. In Virginia. Has document of sites that have a slave house. And I and I have about 25. Left. They need to survey some very close gill has made it her life's work to recorded preserve the homes of those enslaved. And is working on a database to discover homes were slaves lived all across the country. She's been documenting them since 2012 the type of preservation. So. If and when they disappeared. Then at least we can still would have something to study he and they're not forgotten. Her research started when she was going through the historic American building survey from the 1930s. And noticed enslaved people lived in some of these homes. Look at earlier documentation and you know it was knots asleep house is not the main focus of the survey so it was really. And a building that was live. Background of the pictures say as a patient may have been I could see a little building in the background ethical best when I'm of people are. From that single document she was able to record 485. Sites that the people building's going to the same people building the main house they knew how to build a new house. What good construction wasn't so. They were doing it I mean you when you noted is being well you do it well. And why would you not do for your own house Justin reed works alongside hill he and covered his family history during a visit to the ant hill plantation. I grew up knowing him. A few names of ancestors who obviously. I'm I knew that my. My grandmother's grandfather. And densely. Just immediately felt kind of the overwhelming sense of grief and instead it is. These homes an emblem of the painful yet resilient past hill wants to ensure by documenting besides the memory of those who lived through and survived slavery lives not fix it well built buildings. Even though they're supposed to represent its inferior. Class of person and are people who ever but the fact they're not. And they knew they weren't and this is. This is kind of their way of showing and that you know be. They were going to. You know make a mark on the landscape. You know. Just as long as the main husbands or not they have yet I mean there's still the ability to still here today to tell their story just like the main house's and so. I'm here to tell you this much like anything.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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