The sweltering Louisiana countryside north of New Orleans is full of fields of sugarcane, a crop with long, slender leaves so razor-sharp they will slice the skin on your bare arms into ribbons if you walk past them uncovered. If you get too close to a sugarcane field’s edge, you may be stung by fire ants or wasps; if you wade into its depths, you risk being bitten by snakes or eaten by alligators.These fields, worked by enslaved black people until 1865 (and worked by black people for decades after emancipation under various forms of duress) are anchored with the kind of Big House most Americans might associate with Gone With the Wind or Django Unchained. Many of these plantation houses have become bed-and-breakfasts — luxury tourist destinations that routinely serve as wedding venues, where women in white dresses walk down the aisle in a place with few, if any, nods to the enslaved black people who worked the ground on which they’re getting married.There is one exception to this erasure of slavery: the Whitney Plantation Museum. Sitting on a tract of land abutting the Mississippi River, the Whitney, which was purchased in 1752 by German immigrant Ambroise Heidel, is… Read full this story
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