This recent first person essay from VOX seems like just the thing to post in terms of historic events in South Carolina. It is a wonderful insider’s view of presenting history to the public, and on an important topic that continues to reverberate. It shocked me, but is so well-written it also carried me along. Thanks to Margaret Biser for writing this.
I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery.
by Margaret Biser on June 29, 2015
Up until a few weeks ago, I worked at a historic site in the South that included an old house and a nearby plantation. My job was to lead tours and tell guests about the people who made plantations possible: the slaves.
The site I worked at most frequently had more than 100 enslaved workers associated with it— 27 people serving the household alone, outnumbering the home’s three white residents by a factor of nine. Yet many guests who visited the house and took the tour reacted with hostility to hearing a presentation that focused more on the slaves than on the owners.
The first time it happened, I had just finished a tour of the home. People were filing out of their seats, and one man stayed behind to talk to me. He said, “Listen, I just wanted to say that dragging all this slavery stuff up again is bringing down America.”
I started to protest, but he interrupted me. “You didn’t know. You’re young. But America is the greatest country in the world, and these people out there, they’d do anything to make America less great.” He was loud and confusing, and I was 22 years old and he seemed like a million feet tall.
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