86-year-old Isabell Meggett Lucas came face-to-face with her childhood home — a tiny, two-room, wood-framed cabin originally situated in an open field on Edisto Island that’s now a prized centerpiece at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Generations of Meggett descendants who were invited to the Smithsonian on Monday, the experience of seeing their family house as a museum exhibition was only underscored by the fact that it’s now being billed as a slave cabin.
Some of Lucas’s relatives weren’t made aware the house was once inhabited by slaves until three years ago, when the Smithsonian Institution first expressed an interest in the Point of Pines Plantation cabin.
“No one ever called it a ‘slave cabin,’ ” recalled Lavern Meggett, a great niece of Lucas. “It was just a place we called ‘home.’ ”
The oldest of 10 children to Catherine and Gussie Meggett, Lucas lived with her parents, brothers and sisters in the cabin from the time of her birth in 1930 to the age of 19. Lucas’s brother, Jesse Meggett, lived there in his childhood years too before marrying Emily Hutchinson Meggett.
The last family member moved out in 1981.
Lavern and two of her sisters, Marvette Meggett and Elizabeth Jones, recalled fond memories of playing on the long-gone porch during “baseball” games, which were carried out in the field with a can and a stick.
“We’d stand on the porch and wait for whoever to strike out and then we’d get in the game,” Marvette Meggett said.
The Point of Pines Cabin “slave cabin” was the only remaining cabin of 10 cabins that were built in a row along the same patch of land. It originally was owned by a landowner named Charles Bailey, who acquired his wealth through slavery, said Nancy Bercaw, a curator at the museum.