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NC plantation calls slaveowner a ‘white refugee’ in racist Juneteenth event promo

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A racist event description, promising to tell the story of “white refugees” and defeated Confederate soldiers, was abruptly removed Friday by the Historic Latta Plantation after widespread backlash.

On its website and on social media, the living history museum promoted the $25 ticketed event, called “Kingdom Coming,” which was set to take place starting at 7 p.m. next Saturday, on Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the United States. It’s unclear whether the event is canceled but organizers have removed promotional material. Latta Plantation is located in Huntersville, just outside Charlotte.

The event’s description, which didn’t acknowledge the significance of June 19, started with lines from a mournful slave spiritual some scholars say is aligned with the Underground Railroad: “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.”

The event billing is sympathetic to those who owned slaves in the aftermath of emancipation, and inaccurately minimizes an unnamed slaveowner to an “overseer,” referring to him as “massa.” The post on Latta Plantation’s site also refers to “freedmen” but inexplicably omits that Black people were enslaved in the United States for nearly 250 years. Instead, the museum’s site refers to slaves as “former bondsmen.”

The description of the event said attendees would hear from a slaveowner who had been chased out of his house by “Yankees” and his former slaves, who were now “living high on the hog,” a reference to better cuts of meat, which white slaveowners deprived Black people from having.

“White refugees have been displaced and have a story to tell as well,” it read. “Confederate soldiers who will be heading home express their feelings about the downfall of the Confederacy.”

This isn’t the first time the Charlotte-area plantation has come under fire. In 2009, a Black tour guide picked three Black students out of a mostly white group from Union County Schools to help re-enact the lives of slaves. Latta Plantation officials said there was no malicious intent.

A spokesperson at Latta Plantation couldn’t be reached for comment by the Observer on Friday, but an operator previously told a reporter that a statement will be released.

Historic Latta Plantation is located in Huntersville, just outside Charlotte.
Historic Latta Plantation is located in Huntersville, just outside Charlotte.(HISTORIC LATTA PLANTATION)

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