Thursday, August 17, 2006

Slave Cabin Photos

These are photos of the slave cabins on the Sotterley Plantation. The original cabins did not have shingles, windows or a chimney. These things were put there for aesthetic reasons and for overall preservation. The cabin that is pictured here was constructed around 1850. We were told that there was an old woman that lived here well after 1900. (Click post title to find out more).


33 comments:

Bougie Black Boy said...

Hmmm crazily, these houses look better than New York City Apartments. And more spacious!

urban butterfly said...

Wow....seeing these pictures is totally moving me right now! Thanks for sharing.

Stephen Bess said...

sej-
can't argue with that.

ubfly-
you're welcome

Geoffrey Philp said...

Wow!
Thank you for this, Stephen!

Stephen Bess said...

geoffrey-
You're welcome sir. :)

tryphina said...

Stephen, is this a true reflection of a slave cabin? Nice and spacious? Slave cabins are dirt- floor house with no windows, right? Is that a Fire-Place, or chimney??!!. I am wondering if renovations were done to make the cabin look the way it does currently. Renovations to slave cabins equal Distortions. That's just how I feel about it. I am not against any preservation. However, but renovations distorts the truth about lives and living conditions of our ancestors. Thank you for posting this wonderful info, it is kinda hard for some of us to swallow. Thank you for bringing it forth, so we can deal with it, and act on it, and ultimately heal from it.

NML said...

Thanks for sharing. Very haunting...

Stephen Bess said...

tryphina-
I tend to agree with you. It does distort the history. As a matter of fact, they have a cartoon image of slaves in those homes and they look like the renovated models. Hmmm????

Stephen Bess said...

nml-
Thanks for reading this. I don't mean to be depressing, but America's past and present can be very haunting.

Michelle said...

whether renovated or not -- it's still haunting. thanks for the great photos. feel like i'm there.

black feline said...

kind of spooky...i can heard voices..nevetheless...the photos speak volume...a good reminder..how precious freedom is!

Cergie said...

I can understand now why this exploitation is visiting.
It is necessary for everybody not forget what was in the past...

Anonymous said...

in 1978 or 79 i actually knew a lady that still lived in the cabin her ancestors were in as slaves (in jackson, mississippi). these photos bring back lots of memories for me, and look very similar to the cabin she lived in with her 3 children (1 room and an outhouse).

my family moved from columbus, ohio to jackson (richland and eventually pearl, ms), and i must say, for a 10 year old naive white girl who had always attended columbus public schools, moving there was definitely culture shock. i'm sure there was plenty of prejudice to go around in columbus too, but i don't think i ever really realized that there even WAS such a thing as racism until i moved to mississippi.

shelly would sometimes tell us kids stories about the life her great (maybe great great?) grandparents had endured while we were sitting out front looking at the cotton fields she still lived in the middle of (just a dirt road leading to a few cabins). i remember thinking how it seemed to me that SHE had to put up with a lot of the attitudes and ignorance she told us about in the stories, and that it was weird that my history books never really talked about it in this light (i know, it WAS slavery for God's sake, but i was 10, what can i say?).

as i grew up and recounted my mississippi experiences to others, i always said it was like going back in time 100 years. while there i observed the kkk standing in the middle of downtown, fully adorned in their obscene garb and handing out their "newsletter." i observed (many times) crosses burning in yards, and countless acts of prejudice...to me, it was the most awful place on earth, even at 10 or 11.

i heard recently that jackson now has a black mayor...i often wonder how he does it, as i know it'd be really amazing if things changed THAT much over the last 25 years or so...and i doubt they have, honestly. i heard he asked ALL members of the city boards to resign...did my heart good to realize that he was probably trying to do his best to disassemble the "good 'ole boy" network that is most likely still in place there. he MUST be in grave danger all the time, please keep him in prayer.

sorry to ramble, i told you these brought back memories LOL

Stephen Bess said...

michelle-
You're welcome and enjoy your weekend.

blkfeline-
Yes, freedom is a precious thing. I'm wondering just how free we are sometime? Thanks for that comment.

cergie-
It is so very necessary. Thanks.

anonymous-
You should really come bay and ramble again. This was great! I've never been to Mississippi, but I spent my teen years in a small North Carolina town. It was too much different. This was between 1979 - 1985. The danger of being lynched was still there if you stepped outside your "place." As a matter of fact, there was a boy who was sent there to attend school. He was from Philadelphia or NJ I think. Anyway, girls really liked him. They like any boy who was from the city. The problem was that white girls liked him too. Well, he decided to like one back and they found him in his car down by the Roanoke river shot to death. This was around 1990. The racist attitudes are still there, but the people that it was inflicted upon have become more aggressive (mostly with each other) so they have devised other ways (often subtle) to oppress. I wish that it could all just disappear. Thank you.

Xavier said...

Wow, I can smell the moldy wood. Awesome job my brother!

Professor Zero said...

Great pictures! I am having the same reaction as BBB today, though, which is irreverent. Spent the day looking for houses and apartments to rent or buy, on behalf of someone who has just moved here. Many places worse than these. Shocking.

Stephen Bess said...

xavier-
Thank you sir! :)

profzero-
*smile* I hope that your search gets better.

faith said...

Oh MY GOD! I first off have to pause a moment to gather what I am feeling and try to put it into words. I am flooded with emotion...

I had NO idea that racism was STILL SO BAD in the South. (Referring to your Story about the lynching in 1990, and the comments about N.C. and from Anoy about MS) that... wow... I cannot even find the words as to how SHOCKED AND HEARTBROKEN that makes me. I mean I know, sadly, there is still a lot of racism, but I did not realize to that extreme. And I thought the KKK was defunked now... I am always aware of how differently my boyfriend (who is black, and I am white) is treated and how different we are often treated as a couple, but I honestly had NO idea it was still SO extreme in the south in these days... That just breaks my heart. Your story made me cry. I am just shocked beyond words by that...

As far as the photo's from the slave cabin, VERY touching. Very sad to think about living worse than that. Slavery makes me sad to think that someone one race could (and apparently more strongly than I thought, still does) think they are better than others just because of the color of their skin. I just do not see how people could/can think like this. People are people no matter what. We are all the same... This is VERY sad for me. I can only imagine how sad it makes people who had ancestors directly involved with slavery. On either side of the slavery... I know I would feel terribly guilty if my anscestors had slaves. As far as I know, I have none involved in slavery, thank God. I still feel ashamed of the white race for what they have done though... Sorry to ramble, I am still shocked by what I wrote about earlier...

Professor Zero said...

I honestly had NO idea it was still SO extreme in the south in these days.

A different perspective: actually, when I first moved here in the 1980s, I was surprised to find less racism than in L.A., where I had moved from. More recently, I have spent a lot of time in the Northwest where, once again, it's more segregated and there are more active WS groups. It is something we all need to watch, as opposed to only identifying it somewhere 'over there'.

Professor Zero said...

I can only imagine how sad it makes people who had ancestors directly involved with slavery. On either side of the slavery... I know I would feel terribly guilty if my anscestors had slaves. As far as I know, I have none involved in slavery, thank God. I still feel ashamed of the white race for what they have done though.

Faith, we're all interrelated if you look hard enough. I've got some ancestors who had slaves, and some others who were pretty big-time abolitionists. I am not a direct descendant of any slaves, but I must have some distant cousins who are, and unless they have moved, they will be in the Baltimore area. They could be reading this blog right now for all I know. Guilt, shame, I don't know that these emotions are useful. Responsibility, involvement, and action can do more good.

Analogy: at this moment, my tax dollars are funding some pretty horrific actions by the current government. Is it my 'fault'? Well no, I did not vote for it, approve it, and so on. Am I complicit in some way?
Yes. Responsible, therefore? Yes. Should I, then, try to do something useful about it, even though it is 'not my fault'? Yes.

Professor Zero said...

Tryphina:
I am wondering if renovations were done to make the cabin look the way it does currently. Renovations to slave cabins equal Distortions. That's just how I feel about it. I am not against any preservation. However, but renovations distorts the truth about lives and living conditions of our ancestors.

Yes, I was wondering something similar: they are the best slave cabins I've ever seen, although I have read a great variety of descriptions. Some of them seem to have been about the same as the cabins of free poor people, white or Black. Others seem to have been mere barracoons.

There are quite a few cabins not too far from me, which are inhabited and all, and are worse than this. It raises the question of whether this is a distortion and a romanticization, and another, entirely different question about progress (or the lack thereof).

Stephen Bess said...

faith-
Yes, it is a sad situation because America is a racist country on many levels. We have to be careful not to allow that racism to detroy or alter who we are. I've had to pray to not become so bitter that I become prejudice. It has had a really negative affect on people of color in this country. I've come across black people in the deep south that completely despise any white person. This is when it becomes poisonous because the victim begins to victimize based on color. They do not become racist because that would entail control of that white person and blacks do not have that type of control in this country. However, it will make you bitter and if you let it it will destroy you. Thank you for your comment and your honesty. Peace~

profzero-
I may be wrong, but whites in the south seem to be less racist these days in the south. I find that it is more prevalent in the northern cities and midwest. Also, many of the immigrants that move to these places adopt that same racist attitude from some of the population. In other words, they believe the negative images that the media presents to the public. Thanks for that.

Also, I agree about your comment to Faith about guilt. "White guilt" is one of the main reasons that Americans have not been able to heal from slavery. The guilty does not want to talk about it and the victims want to forget it. Thanks for that.

Professor Zero said...

We have to be careful not to allow that racism to detroy or alter who we are. I've had to pray to not become so bitter that I become prejudice. It has had a really negative affect on people of color in this country. I've come across black people in the deep south that completely despise any white person. This is when it becomes poisonous because the victim begins to victimize based on color. They do not become racist because that would entail control of that white person and blacks do not have that type of control in this country. However, it will make you bitter and if you let it it will destroy you.

HI again Stephen, and it turns out that these are words I've been looking for today, not about racism but about sexism! I'll use them for my afternoon meditation (yes, I'm going to go sit by the pool after work and just space out). Thanks!!!

Stephen Bess said...

profzero-
Enjoy your afternoon. Peace to you sista~

tryphina said...

Professor zero:
A Distorted piece of History, nullifies the whole history. We need to correct these distortions now before it is too late. The way we talk about slavery evolve with generations. For example, Frederick Douglass wrote about slavery from a different angle he had to use his stumbling blocks as stepping stones. He was part of the history. Malcolm X, spoke about slavery based on his time, he did not lead the life of a slave, but it was still fresh from the stories told by the elders. Stephen Bess and all his cohorts talk about slavery from a different angle altogether. We are "all" responsible for the preservation of this important history.

Self examination is a good starting point.

Professor Zero said...

Gracias, Esteban ;-) - tryphina, I'm still curious to know exactly what sort of renovations they did to these slave cabins.

Stephen Bess said...

profzero-
I can tell you the renovations that they did based on what I was told by the tour guide. He said that the original cabins had no windows, no roof with shingles and no chimney.

tryphina said...

Prof: you are relentless :)
Here is what I know: Slave cabins never had windows for fear of flight(by the master of-course) Looking at the corner to the right of the picture there's a "Fire Place" or pseudo fire stove?! with a chimney that extends to the outside of the cabin. See the chimney in red-bricks? Slaves never had the luxury of a fireplace or stove!! I am getting outraged just thinking about it now!!

The Africans who were stolen from Africa and brought here in chains like savages!! These my people, our trailblazers, my ancestors, made fire with logs of wood cut from the trees.

On the outside of the cabin, is a small wood-carrier used to keep the fire wood. Based on the age of this plantation it is tyranny to pretend as if the slave cabins were luxurious and comfortable then or anytime. That's equivalent to telling someone in USA not to complain because they live in the Projects/Trailer Park because things could be worse. In America it is an outrage for anybody any color, race or creed to live in such appalling conditions in this day and age. Unless, ofcourse we are not the super-power anymore.

My goodness, see what you have done?? get me rambling on and on!! I hope I answered your question though!!

Stephen I am sorry, it is proffesorzero's fault :)

Nabeel said...

these are great pictures .. the cabin looks awesome .. the rusty, coming off paint adds so much beauty to the room.

jojomojo said...

Nabeel: Awesome???

Stephen Bess said...

nabeel-
Beautiful and hideous at the same time. Thanks for stopping in and welcome.

Delaleuverses said...

I love the rawness of these pics as if you can feel their spirits in there.

Stephen Bess said...

delaleu-
I definitely felt the spirits that day. Thanks!