“Racist” Latta Plantation event denounced in Charlotte
By Cash Michaels
An inexplicable “racist” event at the Historic Latta Plantation near Charlotte has been canceled for this Saturday, June 19th, “Juneteenth” because it commemorated defeated Confederate “white refugees” instead of the emancipation of Black slaves of African descent across the country.
“Kingdom Coming” was supposed to be a $25.00 per person event this Saturday at 7pm but, was cancelled after strong backlash to its promoted purpose.
“Mecklenburg County has zero tolerance for programs that do not embrace equity and diversity,” stated the county in a statement last week about the Huntersville event. “Park and Recreation was not aware of the planned event at Latta Nature Preserve until it appeared on social media, and we immediately reached out to the organizers and the event was canceled. As a result of this incident, Mecklenburg County is looking at its contract with the facility vendor regarding future programming.”
Even the Queen City’s Black mayor, Vi Lyles, turns thumbs down on the event.
“We should not support any business or organization that does not respect equality, history, and the truth of the African-American people’s journey to freedom,” Mayor Lyles said on Twitter Friday. “Despite intent, words matter. And the Historic Latta Plantation should know better.” “Juneteenth,” Lyles continued, “should be celebrated and honored in the most-humble way possible, with lesser focus on the perspective of the inhumane treatment of an enslaved people.”
According to its website, the nonprofit Historic Latta Plantation “…is a circa 1800 living history museum and farm located near Charlotte, NC. Throughout the year, Historic Latta Plantation offers educational and school programs featuring animals, workshops, camps, and reenactments.”
“The plantation house along with a carriage barn, cabins, and outbuildings, give visitors a glimpse into 19th century life in the Carolina backcountry.”
Present day, the Historic Latta Planation serves as a site for weddings, corporate meetings, etc. A look through the page of its website shows a predominance of storytelling through a white perspective regarding the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
In the online promo for “Kingdom Coming,” it stated, you will hear stories from the massa himself who is now living in the woods. Federal troops (Yankees) have him on the run and his former bondsmen have occupied his home and are now living high on the hog. Hear how they feel about being freedmen. The overseer is now out of a job. What will he do now that he has no one to oversee from can see to cannot see? White refugees have been displaced and have a story to tell as well.
Confederate soldiers who will be heading home express their feelings about the downfall of the Confederacy.
Critics have slammed the promo for referring to former slaves as “former bondsmen” and white slaveowners as “white refugees.”
And yet, on its Facebook page, some whites are the ones critical of the Latta Plantation’s programming.
“This place is disgusting and promotes hatred and racism. Pure evil, posted a woman named “Valerie.”
“Horrific experience and horrific programming,” posted “Kaitlin,” while “Leo” wrote, “That Latta whitewashes history is an understatement. As a Charlotte native this place has always had issues with interpretation, but the recent unapologetic, overt racism is over the top.”
The “new” site manager for the Historic Latta Plantation, Ian Campbell, issued a statement about the now cancelled “Kingdom Coming” event on the plantation’s website.
Identifying himself as “…an American man of African descent …,” Campbell, writes, “The program “Kingdom Coming” was created by myself, with the help of others. I, Ian Campbell, Site Manager of Historic Latta Plantation take full responsibility for its content entirely! To the masses on social media and politicians, no apology will be given for bringing a unique program to educate the public about former slaves becoming FREE!”
Campbell continued, “The Confederacy will never be glorified, white supremacy will never be glorified, plantation owners, white refugees or overseers will never be glorified. What will be commemorated is the story of our people who overcame being snatched from their loved ones in Mother Africa and taken to a new and strange land. To work from can see to cannot see from birth to death. The fact that they survived, and we are here and continue to thrive and prosper will be glorified.”
“To tell the story of these freedmen would be pointless if the stories of others were not included,” the site manage continued. ‘Many of you may not like this but, their lives were intertwined, the stories of massa, the Confederate soldiers, the overseer, the displaced white families. How would we know how the enslaved became free or what their lives were like before freedom came? It did not happen with the stroke of a pen. Federal troops came across many of these plantations to enforce federal laws and many of the owners fled.”
Campbell later lashed out at his critics.
“I by no means will let this deter me and the vision of lifting the veil of ignorance. The event was canceled due to security concerns for volunteers and staff. The media’s corps of yellow journalist had a perfect opportunity to educate, however, they chose to whip the public into a frenzy, it worked….
It was not until after the social media frenzy that Latta received numerous emails and phone calls about the event. I also received a phone call from Vi Lyles, the mayor of Charlotte. As long as I have been at Historic Latta Plantation as a volunteer, then as a part-time employee, then as the education coordinator, then as the interpretive farm manager, then as site manager, I have never seen Vi Lyles, the Mayor of the great city of Charlotte visit our site or any other influential and prominent government officials. The same applies to NPR, WBTV, the Charlotte observer et al.
In closing, my job will be to continue to educate. Historic Latta Plantation’s narrative will be to give a voice to our ancestors enslaved and as freedmen who were denied a voice. We will speak for them in a compassionate, accurate, and sensitive manner,” Ian Campbell concluded.