I would like to first comment on the grounds, which are spectacular. The grounds contain beautiful gardens that are designed with the architectural principles of Versailles. There are oaks that are more than 35 feet in diameter on the grounds and traditional breed livestock roaming the ground. Artisans plying crafts of old are also featured to give a Colonial Williamsburg type of feel, but on a much smaller scale.
The most memorable portion of the visit was actually a 35 minute talk given by one of Middleton Plantation’s volunteer, Jerry Bannon. His talk attempted to, and succeeded, in trying to reconcile the beauty of the grounds with institutionalized terrorism and inhumanity of slavery that led to its creation. His talk was stirring, in depth, led to a lot of new thought about how we perceive slavery and it’s implications today.
There were two points out of the many points that he made the audience ponder that were particularly memorable. One was how many people were complicit with the institution of slavery than the white male plantation owners. Bankers in NY that financed the slave trade, ship builder in New England that built the ships, textile manufacturers in England and the African slavers are among many that share responsibility. He also gave the group his thoughts of the differences between racism and bigotry and how it likely affects all of us today. If I were a teacher, I would bring my class.