The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C, has many artifacts connected to slavery. For one woman, visiting the museum this week was a literal homecoming.
Isabell Meggett Lucas was born and raised in a wooden house in coastal South Carolina. Slaves lived in that house during the 1800s.
The Smithsonian bought the structure and moved it plank by plank to the new African-American museum where it is now on display.
NPR’s Ari Shapiro spoke with Meggett Lucas, who is now in her 80s, and her sister-in-law, Emily Meggett, about what it was like to revisit Meggett Lucas’ childhood home. Eleven people lived in the wooden two-bedroom house that had no running water, no electricity and a wood-powered stove.
Meggett Lucas says that growing up they didn’t know their house was a slave cabin.
“I guess it was a rough time for [the slaves] because it was rough for us, too,” Meggett Lucas says. ” ‘Cause my mother had to work … they had nothing to do but farm work, no education. … I don’t think that [my parents] ever thought that they lived in a slave cabin. I don’t think that. I think that that was they home, and they felt comfortable there, and they felt happy there.”
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