Urban Slave Quarters Unveiled

Nov 16, 2018

Savannah’s Telfair Museums is showcasing the lives of urban enslaved people in a new exhibit opening Nov. 16.

Shannon Browning-Mullis is curator of history and decorative arts for the Telfair Museums, which operates the house. She takes us on an audio tour.



The urban slave quarters came to light in 1990 during a renovation of the Owens-Thomas carriage house. It revealed original fireplaces, floors and ceilings painted “haint blue” a color used by the Gullah people to keep ghosts away. 

“Half the people here at any given time were enslaved people and half were Owens or Thomas or Richardson family members," Browning-Mullis said. "So we’re able to talk fully about this wasn’t a segregated space. These people were interacting on a daily basis in very close ways.”

This is the first and only conserved urban slave quarters in Georgia open to the public.