What growing up on a plantation taught me


For some, the legacy of the old South is about states’ rights and preserving a culture. Although that, to a degree, is true, it is an oversimplification. As a descendant of a plantation family, I believe I should be a voice in curtailing these infractions.

My family owned and operated Oakland Plantation for over 200 years, until it was sold to the National Park Service in 1997. It is one of the few antebellum plantations with most of the original buildings intact.

Growing up, I never thought much about the impact my family had on the local community. The plantation grounds were just another place we called home.

I remember believing that we were better than others because we owned a plantation. I was arrogant, and thought I was somehow better than non-whites. However, it was only after informing myself about our past that I began to see the truth.

We as a generation have an opportunity to break down the barriers that divide us. We can remove the stereotype of the South being racist.

The old way of thinking is an unfortunate byproduct of years of re-telling the “lost cause of the Confederacy.” Older whites were taught that the South fought honorably for their “God-given rights” to own people.

I find it odd that these same people will also wave Old Glory and sing the Pledge of Allegiance without a care in the world. The Confederates were traitors. To say anything else is un-American.

As a child, I remember being taught to be kind to others, regardless of their color, race, creed or origins.

In time, I hope other Southerners recognize the disease that is racism. As young people, we have an obligation to show the country that we are not our ancestors. Together, we can make a change for a better South.

Submitted photo.