Meck. County leaders, community working to create new purpose for Latta Place

The County held its first community feedback meeting about the site’s future on Thursday.
The historic site fell into hot water two summers ago after a contentious Juneteenth event was advertised to the public.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 9:50 PM EST
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HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Mecklenburg County community discussed the future of Latta Place, formerly known as Latta Plantation, Thursday night at a meeting in Huntersville.

The historic site fell into hot water two summers ago after a contentious Juneteenth event was advertised from the point of view of a slave owner. The county then terminated the lease with the historical group, Historic Latta Inc.

Thursday’s meeting was one step towards reopening the historic site with a new vision.

Participants talked about ways to make the site more immersive, educational and in-tune with its history.

While the county laid out potential options, one focused on research, one on trauma and healing, one on immersive history, several other ideas were discussed as well.

That included new activities or educational artifacts, whether or not there should be a visitor center, and the opportunity to add more options to visit, like an audio or self-guided tour.

The conversation also touched on how to make the site more interactive, how to introduce the history of slavery clearly and up front, and how to involve descendants of slaves living in the area.

“People would come and reflect on the damage that was done here through the institution of slavery,” explained Al Gatewood, one participant who says this is a unique opportunity to engage with what descendants want.

“I think the idea of bringing education into this place is really important to engage the future generations especially the children and the kids,” added Sandhya Mahendran. “They need to really know the history of the place.”

The county says they will have two more meetings in March to talk with the community.

Leaders say they plan to reopen sometime in 2024.

Related: Plans continue for a reimagined Latta Place, formerly Latta Plantation, set to open in 2023