New London — When Joseph McGill visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and stood in the same rooms where the wartime diarist’s family hid from the Nazis, he learned a powerful lesson in storytelling.
“Having a sign that says, ‘Here once stood,’ that’s OK,” McGill said at the Hempsted Houses on Saturday. “But the space is important. Knowing that something terrible was happening … it was still important to preserve that space. I applied that same concept to the spaces where our enslaved ancestors inhabited.”
Over the last eight years, the longtime historian and Civil War re-enactor has traveled to almost 100 sites in 21 states and the District of Columbia, sleeping overnight in former slave dwellings and advocating for their preservation.