Are Plantations Slave Labor Camp Museums?
Over at the Freedmen’s Patrol blog, there’s a discussion of a new plantation museum in Louisiana, and how it contrasts explicitly with the way such sites are traditionally presented to the public:
We marvel at the luxury. Docents tell us about the paint on the walls. [At Monticello] they point out where Jefferson knocked a hole in the floor of his foyer so the weights for his clock could go down as far as they needed to. You spend a few dollars to get in and a few more at the gift shop, making your offering at the patriotic shrine. . . . I think that the [subject of] slaves came up in passing at Monticello, with the docent waving off vaguely toward their quarters, but one goes to such a place to learn about the white dead president rather than the black dead slaves that gave them the wealth to fund their careers. Less famous plantations run to much the same experience. You can rent them out for weddings or parties. . . .
We take it for granted that the Holocaust Museum in Washington looks like a murder factory on the inside. We do just the opposite for plantations.
Powerful stuff that’s well worth your time.