On Friday, I’m going to try to visit a plantation that has preserved many of its original buildings (though oddly, the blurb never mentions slave quarters). And there is a heaviness in my heart as I read about this “historic plantation and wedding venue.” The blurb declares: “The second owners of the plantation were the Chambers family who expanded the cotton plantation from 4,000 acres to 12,000 acres.”
I will also try to visit a slave cemetery nearby which is described in this way: “Upon reflection, we can be grateful for the attachments formed between Albert, Lizzie, Jim, Charles, and countless others [and their owners]. Bonds like these led to profound changes that began in the heart and grew to relieve a nation.”
I’ve been finding this kind of language again and again as I read about North Carolina historic sites. There’s no mention of the “who” that did the back-breaking work of clearing the land, preparing and working the fields; no acknowledgment that these fine (now) wedding and event venues, some owned by the descendants of slave owners, owe their very existence to an enslaved people.
In both places, I hope to be able to hear the whispers of the ancestors of my friends and think about what I need to do in reparation and repentance.