Architecture of the Enslaved: Documenting Alabama’s Slave Dwellings is a multi-year, statewide project to research and document the places and buildings in Alabama where enslaved African Americans lived. The project is funded by an Underrepresented Communities Grant from the National Park Service to the Alabama Historical Commission.

The goals of the project are to collect information about slave houses across the state and to prepare a historic context that will explain their architectural and historical significance. This information will make it easier to nominate them to the National Register of Historic Places.

By identifying and documenting slave dwellings in Alabama, this project will help the Alabama Historical Commission to recognize and interpret the contributions of enslaved African Americans to the state’s history, culture, and built environment. The project aims to build greater empathy for the unimaginable conditions that enslaved people endured for generations and to foster appreciation for their strategies for surviving oppression.

Pictured is Boxwood Plantation Slave Quarter, Lawrence County.

Phase 1: Identification and Documentation

In order to best protect historic resources, the important first step is survey work, which allows us to learn where and what those resources are. In 2020 and early 2023, the AHC worked with Jobie Hill, a nationally recognized expert on slave housing and founder of Saving Slave Houses, to assist us with this project. Hill identified properties throughout Alabama that contain buildings occupied by enslaved men, women, and children. She documented some of these historic buildings and the survey information will be added to our permanent survey files and GIS Map.


Phase 2: National Register of Historic Places Nomination

Established in 1966, the National Register of Historic Places recognizes places that have historic, architectural, or archeological significance at the local, state, or national level. Owner permission is required to list a property in the National Register. Listing in the National Register is an honorary designation and places no restrictions on property owners.

This grant-funded project will culminate in an update to an existing National Register nomination. The AHC has selected Magnolia Grove, Greensboro, Hale County as the nomination to be updated. The original nomination was prepared in 1973, an era that placed more consideration on the impressive architectural stylings and design of the plantation homes, rather than the vernacular dwellings of the enslaved or the agricultural economy that contributed to this landscape. This nomination will update the understanding and interpretation of all architecture on the property and provide a better understanding of enslaved spaces within the plantation economy.


If you are aware of a building in Alabama that you think is related to where enslaved African Americans lived or worked, let us know. The information that you provide will help the Alabama Historical Commission in preserving these resources through documentation and help raise awareness of these historic structures before they are lost to time.

Information can be sent to Christy Anderson by email to or by mail to Alabama Historical Commission, Attn: Christy Anderson, 468 South Perry Street, P.O. Box 300900, Montgomery, AL 36130-0900. Please provide the location of the building and indicate whether or not you are the property owner.

  • More resources coming soon!

This program receives federal funds from the National Park Service administered through the Alabama Historical Commission. Regulations of the U. S. Department of the Interior strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination in departmental federally assisted programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, age or disability. Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility operated by a recipient of federal assistance should write to: Director, Equal Opportunity Program, U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, P. O. 37127, Washington, D.C. 20013-7127.

Contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U. S. Department of the Interior or the Alabama Historical Commission, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation.

This material was produced with assistance from Underrepresented Communities Grant program, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.