Plantation America secrets of modern day slavery
The secret writing of American slaves - The Boston Globe
But for many others, it is a symbol of refined living and hospitality — remnants of a more genteel time. And the market for plantation weddings is high. Over the past two decades, many plantation museums have moved to better incorporate the enslaved experience, in part because of consumer demand for more honest narratives and the growing minority tourism market.
Other motivating factors include more honest depictions of slavery in films such as 12 Years a Slave, and the potent force of Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements pushing for America to remedy stark racial disparities that began with slavery. On the Beyond the Fields tour, the guide relayed a history of slavery that made it sound as though Africans simply arrived in North America, ignoring that men, women and children were held on ships for months at a time.
Instead, it was mostly a rote description of the work they did.
And Powers identified some factual errors. Powers, who has been a consultant to Middleton Place, said it was important to shake people out of their modern mentality on these tours. War in the form of learning to read and write when you were forbidden from doing so, or sabotaging the rice fields because you knew how they worked better than your boss. That Middleton Place, like more and more plantation museums, has a separate tour to speak about the lives of African Americans who lived on the property, represents a step forward and a point of contention. These separate tours can maintain the narrative that the lives of the enslaved were separate from what happened at the Big House, where the master lived.
At some places, they cost extra. Jeff Neale, the director of preservation and interpretation at Middleton Place, said incorporating the African American narrative into the site was an important process that involved balancing the many issues that draw in visitors: its history, its gardens and its decor. This culture of silence has been supported by US public education. Over the past 50 years, lessons about slavery in American schools have gone from largely nonexistent to woefully inadequate.
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