Despite Everything, People Still Have Weddings at ‘Plantation’ SitesBreaking News
tags: slavery, Southern history, tourism, South Carolina, public history, Charleston
The question of the use of these historical sites across the South is not settled.
Ashley Rogers, who is white and from North Carolina, is the executive director of the nonprofit Whitney Plantation in Wallace, La.
“We are an educational institution. And that’s how we see ourselves, that we are here to provide context and education around the history of slavery and race relations in this country,” Ms. Rogers said. “Everything that we do has to really be in support of that mission.”
Weddings are not a part of that mission. “There is a moral and a right thing,” she said.
She said the common justification that weddings and other social events support educational programming is “fiction.”
“You have to dedicate whole teams to sales and coordinating the events and either you buy all of the equipment or you’re renting equipment. It’s a huge cost,” she said. “You really have to pour a lot of resources into just running your events and wedding business.”
At Whitney, she said coordinating wedding events on site would redirect “all of my energy or a significant portion of my energy into doing a thing that is counter to my mission.”
“We have to grind against this really entrenched idea of white supremacy, of the glory of the Old South,” she said. “Having a wedding in 2019 or 2020 in front of these gorgeous colonnades on a plantation, all it does is reinforce the idea that what a plantation is: a beautiful home — when it’s not. It’s a labor camp.”