This past Summer I went to New Orleans on a family trip to experience food, entertainment, and the outdoors. Once we arrived we quickly found out that New Orleans has a vibrant tourism industry built around the issue of slavery. There are many tours to various landmarks within the city but the big excursion is to an actual former slave plantation that has been converted to a tourist attraction. I immediately thought it was ridiculous that anyone would want to visit a place with such a horrible past but after a few days in New Orleans we decided to give this a try. We went out to the plantation that I have linked below. Upon arrival, you are welcomed and offered to sip on a mint julep “just like the old days” and to enjoy the scenery of the plantation on the veranda before the actual tour starts. Once the tour started it became obvious that efforts were made to decry the horrors of slavery but also to shed light on the heroism of those early Americans (slaveowners) that made American what it is today. And in this delicate balance of the violence of slavery, the heroism and hard work of plantation owners and nation-creation we end up in a very confusing place!
Of course, this is a very complicated situation and no doubt my own race had to do with the dynamics of the interaction with staff and other visitors. Being of Mexican descent with a family that “passes” as Anglo, as we engaged the tour guide on thorny historical race issues, we could tell it was obviously confusing to him.
The question is this; should this type of tourism be allowed and if so how should it be regulated? Look at the website and do some other browsing on neighboring plantations. All that you have read should prepare you to make a solid statement on slave tourism. Argue why or why not this type of tourism should be allowed to exist. Does it press the issue of making sure this type of racism never exists again or does it empower latent racism? Be very specific for your reasons why or why not. You should quote language from the attached document to aid in making your point. You only have to read the first five pages of the Frederick Douglass speech.
This should be no more than one page but should make references to either the readings or other material you have found. This is an exercise in historical interpretation.
IMPORTANT!!! Submit this to me under the “Slavery Tourism” for a possible 100 points for the entire exercise. Additionally, to get the maximum points, you should go to the discussion called Slavery Tourism that I am creating and post your one page there as well. Then, after all have been posted, you should also POST a response to another students posting.
This is meant for you to engage another student in their ideas. Be respectful, be courteous and most of all be clear what you are trying to say. Agree or disagree with your fellow classmate, just be clear and make sure you give a short reason why.
Again, this is 10 percent of your grade! Post it to me by THURSDAY MIDNIGHT, then post it in the discussion and engage at least one other student.
This is the plantation we visited:
and please give your review on this.
In the winter of 2019, I visited the Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina. As I walked through the Boone house and listened to our tour guide, I noticed that she had not mentioned slavery at all. The only mention of slavery I had seen in Charleston was when I visited the slave quarters on my own accord. These small houses were located on the outskirts of the Boone Hall Plantation, in which the usual live tours were supplemented with television monitors and audio narration. After noticing the lack of slavery discussion from the other tours in Charleston, it seemed as if the people of Charleston wanted to forget their horrible past, desiring only to remember the good. Historical cities such as Charleston should be able to openly discuss their legacy because they would not be who they are without it. I believe that slavery tourism should still continue but should be done so with a holistic approach. Discussing the honest truth about slavery would help eliminate racism on a national scale. In contrast, avoiding the topic of slavery would have the opposite effect. Similarly, the holocaust is remembered and discussed to prevent future generations from repeating history. In addition, ignoring history and creating a new narrative for future generations means downplaying the events of the past which is extremely harmful. Frederick Douglass reminds us that our founding fathers “declared for liberty and independence” (Douglass). The same must be done for those oppressed by slavery, in the present and future. The events of slavery taught us that America was built on the foundations of liberty and justice for all, not only for those deemed worthy of it. Our founding fathers noted that “justice, liberty and humanity were ‘final;’ not slavery and oppression” (Douglass). The point of the slave tours is not only to show the privileged lifestyle that these slave owners lived but also to remind us that history is a trend that repeats itself if we are not wary.