Sunday, March 1, 2009

Boone Hall Plantation - Cross-Country Road Trip 6.5

Boone Hall Plantation was absolutely beautiful, I can't imagine what it looks like in the summer when flowers are blooming. The trees were majestic, I think they said the oldest one was about 400 years old. Standing there, I could just imagine a Southern Belle in her big, fluffy dress sitting under that tree sipping some lemonade on a hot day.

The rain let up just in time for our tour, which was very fortunate for us because it was mostly outside. We took a bunch of pictures but weren't allowed to take any inside of the mansion. The owners still live upstairs during the summer (how cool would that be?) and probably don't want the world knowing what's inside.

We took a tour of the mansion, got a lesson in Gullah (African origin) culture and, my favorite, a tour of what is now known as Slave Street. Back in the day, a plantation owner's wealth was displayed in his slaves. Boone Hall was a successful plantation so they used extra brick to build a bunch of small brick homes (300 sq. ft.) along the grand entrance to the mansion. This is where slaves that worked inside the home would have lived and, at certain points in time, there were as many as 16 people crammed into one of these tiny rooms.

Slave Street at Boone Hall is a very rare sight these days because most slave quarters were built of wood and simply did not survive. These ones are made of brick so are still in decent shape. The staff does an excellent job of educating visitors - one thing I didn't know is that America wasn't the only country bringing Africans in as slaves. Brazil actually took a lot more than us and didn't make it illegal until much later than we did. Not that it excuses what we did, but I did find it interesting that facts like this one aren't taught to us in school.

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