McGill, a program officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will spend Saturday night in a cabin at Hobcaw Barony near the coastal community of Georgetown.
It will be the fifth night this year that he has slept on a cabin floor, trying to attract attention to the need to preserve the structures and the history they hold. […]
He returned to the cabin project this year, meeting reporters wherever he goes to draw attention to the buildings. He said preserving the cabins requires local efforts and his goal is to encourage people to save the ones that are left.
The cabins where McGill has stayed — such as those at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens near Charleston — have already been restored. But many others have been neglected. […]
There once were thousands of slave cabins in South Carolina, mainly near the coast in the state’s largest plantations.
Many have not survived because they were modestly constructed of wood or because people didn’t want a connection with a dark chapter of history, he said.
“When it comes to slave cabins, you are talking about a part of history that some folks would rather forget,” said McGill.
“I come from a chain of thought that to know is better,” he said, adding that just as a plantation house tells a story, so, too, does a modest cabin.