Preserve Arkansas to Present "Behind the Big House" at Lakeport Plantation

JONESBORO – “Behind the Big House,” a program that explores existing slave dwellings and interprets the experiences of the enslaved people who lived in them, will be presented Friday-Saturday, April 28-29, at Lakeport Plantation in Lake Village.

Preserve Arkansas, in partnership with Arkansas State University Heritage Sites, Lakeport Plantation, Black History Commission of Arkansas and the Arkansas Humanities Council, is sponsoring the presentation. This project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The “Behind the Big House” project moves beyond the big houses or stately historic homes to focus on the slave housing. The workshop includes live historical interpretations and lectures to highlight the important contributions African Americans made to Arkansas’s history and provide a broad understanding of the importance of slave dwellings and their role in heritage tourism.

Speakers for the program include Rachel Silva Patton, Preserve Arkansas; Carla Coleman, Black History Commission of Arkansas; Dr. Blake Wintory, Lakeport Plantation; Angela Walton-Raji, historian and genealogist, Maryland; “Interview with a Slave” by Voices in the Past; Jerome Bias, Stagville State Historic Site, North Carolina; Joseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project; and Dr. Jodi Skipper, University of Mississippi.

The event is free, but space is limited. Register at by April 14. Registration does not include lunch. An optional box lunch may be pre-ordered for $12. For more information and the full schedule of events, call (501) 372-4757 or visit Also, contact Rachel Silva Patton of Preserve Arkansas through email at or by phone at (501) 372-4757.

Lakeport Plantation is Arkansas’s only remaining antebellum plantation home on the Mississippi River and retains many of its original decorative finishes. Exhibits tell stories of those who lived and worked there.

The Arkansas State University Heritage Sites Office develops and operates historic properties of regional and national significance in the Arkansas Delta. These sites provide educational resources for formal and informal learning, including serving as living laboratories for students in A-State’s Heritage Studies Ph.D. program. In addition, they serve as economic catalysts in communities where they are located by attracting heritage tourists from around the country.

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Attached photo: (right) The front of Lakeport Plantation and (left) the back view that includes the kitchen.

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