Poolesville home tells story of African Americans freedom in NMAAHC exhibit

Local home tells story of a family's freedom.

POOLESVILLE, Md., (WUSA) -- The Jones, Hall, Sims house was once a home filled with regular 4th of July gatherings and laughter in Jonesville.

"We were there all the time," said Joyce Harris, as she laughed surrounded by members of her family.

Now, the house, referred to some as the 'Freedom House', finds a new home in the halls of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The reconstructed house, which will be shown during the museum's opening Saturday, represents a turning point for African Americans after slavery. It showed African Americans moving from a life as property to owning property and supporting their families.

"It was a great place to be apart of," said Harris.

The descendants of John Sims lived in the house for decades.   They recount the unique markings of the house; a large slant in the bedroom floor and winding stairs.

"If you didn't pay attention to the stairs coming down, you were going to fall down the stairs. They were so shifty. They weren't the traditional up and down stairs," said Twayla Clark, who lived n the house when she was a little girl.

Even with its imperfections, the family calls it an ideal place to live; a house filled with a lot of love.

"I remember my grandfather cleaning fish all the time," said Clark.

"The great thing to do was go down to granddaddy's house...and you see people like you and you feel good," added Harris.

The last relative to own the house passed away. The property was later sold but not before historians were able to dissemble the house and move it to the museum.

"I think a lot of us, thinking back on it cried. We were there. We saw. We lived and we experienced. Never did we know what was behind the walls," said Harris, explaining the moment she and her family learned how the house would be celebrated.

Visiting the neighborhood today, you can't tell where the house in Jonesville once stood.  A new house is on the property and signs of the past are all gone.  What gives the family peace about the future, however, is knowing the house has a new address for their family and the world right along Constitution Ave.


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