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Holly Springs goes Behind the Big House

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Holly Springs goes Behind the Big House
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Historic preservation groups are remembering the slaves who lived and toiled "behind the big house." MPB's Ashley reports on an annual program in Marshall County.

The Behind The Big House Tour is uncovering the truth about slavery in antebellum Holly Springs. Re-enactors channel the lives of enslaved people in the houses where they actually lived. They demonstrate the labor of slaves in the kitchen, the yard, and the big house. The program, in its seventh year, is funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council. Program creator Chelius Carter says he hopes this will begin a more honest dialogue that should've taken place 85 years ago.

"More accurate, more complete, more inclusive and also on recognizing that need or offering up an option for people, those visiting Holly Springs to learn more about the other side of antebellum culture. The people that made it possible," said Carter.

This year, the tour focuses on the slave quarters and kitchen behind the Hugh Craft House built in 1843. Tammy Gibson of Chicago will be interpreting the routine of a laundress. She says the varied roles of female slaves are often unlearned and ignored.

"The slave women had so many roles. They were field slaves, house slaves, wet nurse, midwives, laundress, they had so many responsibilities on a plantation to help generate economic wealth not only to the family that enslaved her but to the U.S. economy," said Gibson.

The tour begins Friday and will include antebellum cooking demonstrations, hands-on 19th-century brick making, and exhibits including historic findings from the Hugh Craft House and slave quarters. More information on the tour is available on preservemarshallcounty.org. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.