Annual Road Trip
I am traveling with my mom and our friend. All three of us are privileged white Jewish women. This is our second annual road trip and we make sure to visit plantations and museums that educate us on the world of the enslaved.
Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters
While visiting Savannah, Georgia we made our way to the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters. The majority of the tour was about the house, highlighting the beautiful faux wallpapers and the elegant furniture. A white woman on the tour kept asking the guide about the portraits in every room. It seemed important to her to recognize the white men and women and what they accomplished. She never once asked about the enslaved workers. I was really curious as to why she was so intrigued by these images and not about the life of the enslaved workers they owned. To be honest, there were only two moments during the tour that I found educational and enlightening.
The first moment took place at the start of the tour in the gallery. On one wall was a timeline of the house as well as the timeline of Georgia’s history with slavery. On another wall was a list of the enslaved workers who worked at the Owens-Thomas House. As mentioned on the tour some of the names people were born with, while others were given names from their owners. Some of the names written were “Unkown.”. On the third wall was this plaque. Take a moment to read it.
Learning and Growing
On the tour were three Black females around my age; 30. At the end of the tour my mother asked them if they personally preferred the term enslaved versus slavery. We wound up talking to these women for about 20-30 minutes. We sat in the basement of the house and talked about the lack of proper and realistic history that isn’t being taught in schools. How we focus on the men and women that enslaved people as opposed to the enslaved workers. We talked about what the world would be like if there was no racism or hate and how much work we STILL need to do to get to that type of world.
Changing the Narrative
When will the narrative change? We know the white men enslaved men, women and children. We know they have fancy houses and plenty of land. We know their families were taken care of and that they had the right to make decisions that bettered their lives. We get it.
I recognize and acknowledge the life the enslaved workers experienced. I can only continue educating myself Having hard conversations that may be uncomfortable but that help me gain an understanding of how other people experience or have experienced life. Though I will continue learning, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fathom how this world works.