When The Ancestors Speak: A Tour of the Whitney Plantation

This morning, I wrote an entire blog post about NASA’s discovery of a new solar system complete with photos and everything. A good 400 or 500 words and I accidentally deleted it. I didn’t have enough time to re-write it as my friend and I had scheduled a tour of the Whitney Plantation, as I am on vacation here in New Orleans, LA for Mardi Gras.

The first time I visited a plantation was about 2 years ago and I visited Oak Alley and the Laura Plantation. You can read about those visits here. The Whitney Plantation was closed at the time that I visited, and it is the first of it’s kind in the country as it focuses on slavery from the perspective of the enslaved. According to the website:

In 2014, the Whitney Plantation opened its doors to the public for the first time in its 262 year history as the only plantation museum in Louisiana with a focus on slavery.

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Through museum exhibits, memorial artwork and restored buildings and hundreds of first-person slave narratives, visitors to Whitney will gain a unique perspective on the lives of Louisiana’s enslaved people.

 We did the first tour, and at the end of the tour, our tour guide invited us to participate in the “Special Black History Month” Event taking place. After joining the group we learned that a Yoruba Priest and a community of predominantly African American and African people were doing a special ceremony to honor the enslaved ancestors. 

Throughout the experience my friend and I were brought to tears as we both witnessed and participated in the sacred experience. At Whitney Plantation there are several memorials that include the names of enslaved people. Throughout the ceremony there were frequent references to “being the light,” and to calling forth the energy of the ancestors to lead and guide us throughout our journey. Click here to learn more about the Whitney Plantation. 

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There is one memorial that is dedicated to the German Coast Uprising of 1811, the largest slave revolt in US History lead by Charles Deslandes (1780 -15 January 1811) who was a slave driver. On the evening of 8 January 1811, Deslondes, inspired by the Haitian Revolution, led between three hundred and five hundred slaves in rebellion. Deslondes was executed on 15 January. His body was mutilated, dismembered, and put on public display as a warning against other attempts at slave uprising. The heads of those who revolted were displayed along the Mississippi River, and the memorial is being designed. We did an entire ceremony honoring the lives of those who lost and at the very end my friend and I both touched the head of Charles Deslandes. The status was actually very warm. To be sure that I wasn’t making things up, I asked my friend if the sculpture was warm/hot when she touched it, and she said it was. When we moved on to the next exhibit, we touched another sculpture and the sculpture was cold, as the temperature outside was 68 degrees. 

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Approximately 24 hours before that, we sat down with a psychic named Reina. I had pulled the Warrior Card twice from the deck and Reina said “that’s who you are, the warrior.” There was also a point when we were visiting one of the memorials and I came across a quote from Harriet Tubman as well as a photo of her. I’m a big believer in signs and confirmation and that experience where the statue was warm gives me chills. 

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New Orleans feels like home for me and it has since the first time I visited. I feel a sense of restoration. I feel a sense of peace & calm and I feel recharged, which is why I try to make it to NOLA as often as possible. I love it so much that my husband & I have even talked about purchasing property here. The Whitney Plantation was built in 1752. New Orleans from a perspective of history is one of the oldest settlements in the United States and you feel that. 

I don’t believe there are accidents and I don’t believe there are coincidences. I am thankful that I was able to bear witness to what I witnessed today, to pray and be prayed for and over, and to feel a renewed commitment to the struggle that has been the experience of the oppressed people in our world… 

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I could go on and on about what I learned from today and may post in a future post, but more than anything I just want to express gratitude to God for allowing me to be in New Orleans at this time and to be able to witness & experience what I did at Whitney Plantation. 

In loving memory of the many whose lives were lost and whose experiences made it possible for me to be here today, especially the children.

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A special thank you to John Cummings, the Whitney Plantation’s Owner, who we also had the honor of hearing from & meeting today. Learn more about him here.

 

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