While others are busy converting plantations into huge resorts or other forms of real estate, one man has turned a plantation into a reminder of the past.
Trial lawyer John Cummings has spent the last 16 years of his life restoring a 1790s plantation into a museum. But it’s not just any museum that John is looking at. He hopes to turn Whitney Plantation into a memorial that would honor the slaves who built it.
Located in Louisiana, the 250-acre land, which formerly held rice and sugar fields, would display the lives of slaves during that time. Quarters, workshops, kitchens, barns and even a church would be available for tours as soon as he opens the park to the public next year.
While it’s not impossible to marvel at the structure of the main house and its furniture, John’s desire is for the visitors to turn their eyes on the things and oddities that complete a slave’s life. As tourists pass through the house, he planned the antique bells that are as big as 30 inches wide to toll non-stop, as a reminder of the slaves who had to sacrifice a lot just to see the plantation complete.
Joseph McGill from the National Trust for Historic Preservation is very excited with John’s project, which would focus on the lives of slaves. He believes that it’s about time someone speak about something that has been played down through the years.
The Whitney Plantation couldn’t have arrived at a most opportune time when racism and slavery is again becoming a constant thing in the consciousness of the people. The museum will serve as a great reminder that even though these people were slaves, they have a life too, and often not described properly enough for people to truly grasp the nature of slavery.
John hopes that as people visit his museum, exhibits and memorial artwork, many would come to understand why it was abolished in the first place and why it’s important that this form of bondage should never happen again.