Postcard from... Louisiana


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Life-size sculptures of slave children haunt the clapboard church on the grounds of the old sugar cane plantation, where ceramic heads of black men will soon sway on pikes in the Louisiana breeze.

Unlike other plantation museums along the Great River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the newly opened and under-construction Whitney Plantation focuses squarely on the plight of slaves.

Opened last month, the museum – used as a location for Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 Django Unchained film – is to hold an exhibition later this year commemorating the 1811 slave revolt, which ended in mass beheadings, with 60 ceramic heads mounted on sticks.

Such displays “help the whites understand how blacks might carry anger and resentment with them,” said Ferdinand Gaines Jr. pastor of First Antioch Baptist Church, which donated its old church building to the plantation.

John Cummings, the museum’s 77-year-old founder and a retired lawyer, recalled a black construction worker telling him when he is around white people, he always senses their thinking that he has done something wrong.

“What is that about?”  Mr Cummings said. “And what do we have to do to overcome that?” Reuters