I came across this article from blogger Luanne Castle, who describes her visit to The Whitney Plantation in Louisiana. Although I have been to Louisiana, I have never been to this plantation. What really captured my attention as I read her article was the fact she said that didn’t try to put distance between the reality that humans were enslaved in this country. I have visited many plantations, including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. I remember taking my 6th graders there for a field trip. What I found was far from the truth of slave/plantation life. I remember our tour guide spoke more about how kind the slave owners/overseers were and how the slaves felt like family.I also noticed they didn’t really use the word ‘slave’ that much but rather ‘field laborers’. I was so taken aback by what I saw and heard, I remember walking my kids around and doing my own narrated tour. It seems the Whitney Plantation is trying to tell a truer story. She also mentions a book she read with her students called Life of A Slave. If you have never read it you surely should! Where there exist truth, there too exist the opportunity for healing. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did.
When I taught children’s lit at the university, I often included a Newbery Honor Book on my book list called To Be a Slave, edited by Julius Lester. The bulk of the material is from stories collected during the Great Depression through the Federal Writers’ Project, part of the Works Progress Administration set up by FDR. These stories […]