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Historic Latta Plantation closed until further notice following Juneteenth event controversy, protest still planned for Saturday

NAACP wants to be involved with future decisions about the historic site.
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 5:01 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Following backlash from the community regarding what has been called an “insensitive” scheduled event, Historic Latta Plantation has closed until further notice.

Mecklenburg County announced the plantation’s closure Thursday afternoon.

“Over the next few months, we will evaluate the best path forward for Latta Plantation and its programming, ensuring that the site is utilized in an appropriate, forward-thinking manner,” Park and Recreation Director W. Lee Jones wrote in a statement posted on the county’s website. “As our review continues, we feel it is in the best interest of the community and the property to close for now until other plans can be announced.”

The event in question was titled “Kingdom Coming,” and was scheduled for June 19, also known as Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the emancipation of slaves in America.

According to the event description description, the audience would hear from “white refugees” and included the term “massa.”

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

It also referred to enslaved people as “bondsmen.”

“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. Despite intent, words matter. And the Historic Latta Plantation should know better,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles tweeted in response.

[Community reacts to canceled Latta plantation event]

The event received pushback from the community, including the town of Huntersville (where the plantation is located) and neighboring Carolina Raptor Center.

Ian Campbell, the plantation’s former site manager, said the event was canceled due to “security concerns for volunteers and staff.”

Campbell put out a statement blaming the media for inciting a “social media frenzy.”

[‘My job will be to continue to educate’: Latta Plantation responds to criticism over promoted Juneteenth event]

“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 wrote.

Mecklenburg County Commissioners to let their contract with Historic Latta Place, a private, not-for-profit organization that managed the plantation and Latta Nature Preserve, expire.

The NAACP chapter in Charlotte also weighed in on Friday. They they want more Black voices to be heard regarding the future of the historic site.

“We want Black people and Black voices at the table to talk about what happened to our people. We also want some kind of oversight, so this doesn’t happen again,” said Kass Ottley, who organized the protest happening on Saturday.

The NAACP not only wants to be involved in future discussions, they also want an apology from the the people who formerly ran the site. Ian Campbell said he will not send an apology in previous statements.

[Mecklenburg County allowing contract to expire with Historic Latta Plantation over controversial event]

The closure will not affect the Carolina Raptor Center, Quest or other services in the Nature Preserve, according to the statement issued.

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