Hey there Campers,
After spending 2 restful days we are on the road again. We went to the Whitney Plantation in Wallace, Louisiana. This plantation museum is totally dedicated to slavery. I found about this plantation from watching Katie Couric “America Inside Out.”
We started our tour by going into the museum. It is a wealth of knowledge from research and digging from the plantation.
Here are some quick facts:
Ø Goree Island is in Senegal. Thousands of captured Africans passed this way on to America. It has the “Door of No Return.”
Ø Plantation owners were always afraid of a Negro Revolt.
Ø Sugar cane is called White Gold.
Ø Where the plantation is located was called the German Coast since most of the whites were of German decent.
Ø Norbert Rillieux a free person of color, born in New Orleans 1806, revolutionized Louisiana sugar industry. He never got any credit for it and discriminated against.
Ø Civil War didn’t change things for most African Americans. They had no place to go and most stayed on plantations too become sharecroppers. This was as bad as slavery.
Ø The Whitney Plantation was owned by the Haydel family.
Ø By 1850, slave workers were more valuable than the land in the South.
Ø The Civil Code of Louisiana related only to how slaves had no rights.
Ø Religion incorporated elements of West African culture.
Ø Under the Black Code all slaves were baptized Catholic.
Ø The word Mumbo Jumbo comes from the word Maama Jombo which was the deity of fertility and the protector of mothers and children. The name was misheard by whites and eventually became known as Mumbo Jumbo a name for gibberish and witchcraft.
Ø Under Louisiana law slaves were moveable property.
When we purchased our tickets we were given a tag with a picture of a child on it. We started the tour with our tour guide Susan. Now you know it is hot when the first thing we were given was an umbrella.
We went to the church that was built in 1871. Inside the church were statues of children. We needed to find our child that was on our tag. The sculptors were very life like only with ash skin.
Outside of the church is a memorial list of every slave that had been on the plantation with their occupation. The idea of this memorial was based on the Vietnam Memorial. Every tour rings the bell to commemorate the slaves.
The sculpture with the sticks is called the Long Boat. The long boat would row up the river to gather the slaves. The slaves were taken aboard and chained and brought to the mouth of the river where they were placed in a large slave pen until they were loaded on a ship and taken to slave markets. The slaves were considered cargo. The long boats would be unloaded while the slave ship was anchored off the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean.
We next ventured to the Fields of Angels. It is dedicated to all the children who died on the plantation. You were told to find your birth date and see which child was yours.
We went next to the slave cabins. On our way there we saw John Cummings, the man who owns this plantation. He was very cordial. It was his idea to come up with the museum. He felt the world really needed to know who the slaves were and how they really lived.
The slave cabins were little better than shacks. The furniture inside was very sparse. The bedding was rags.
In front of the cabin were the sugar cane bowls. From October 1, to January 1, sugar cane had to be cut and made intp syrup then unto granulated sugar. It was produced 24/7. To produce sugar cane for this plantation, slaves built leaves and drained the swamps. All of the cane was used. If too much water in the sugar cane it will bend and no sugar could be produced. They had a term call the Jamaica Train. It was from big kettle to Grande Flambé to syrup to factory. It took 50 to 70 people to run the train. This was a hard and dangerous job. Women and children mainly did the work while men were in the sugar cane and cotton field. Many people were maimed, burned and died producing this product. The bowls were extremely hot. The survival life of the people who worked at the plantation was 10 years. Sugar cane made millions of dollars for the plantation owners. When the sugar cane season was done slaves were rented out to other plantations.
New Orleans was built on the backs on the backs of slavery. The way tourism in New Orleans is currently is what slavery was in the 19th century.
We saw slave pens that were worse than any jail.
The kitchen was near the big house. It is the oldest detached kitchen in Louisiana. The cooks only cooked for the masters.
We continued on to the “big house”. It was your typical plantation home with many windows to allow the draft to cool the house.
Outside the house was a sculptor of a hand and a chain. It was to show what slavery had done.
In the back garden there was a disc that showed how the slaves were cramped in the slave boats.
Another statue is the one that says to me “how long oh God.”
As we turn in the garden, there are heads on pikes representing the 1811 German Coast Uprising. The slaves that were caught were shot or hanged. Their heads were hung on pikes to let other slaves know the same would happen to them.
On our way out the sign says it all. In order to grow we much acknowledge this.
Well, campers until next time.
Lo & Bren