We’ve been sitting still in Atlanta because…dunndunndunndunn (that’s a drum roll)…my daughter has completed her soon to be available self-published novel, Traveling Paws. We have been working with Nia Sade Akinyemi of The Literary Revolutionary to guide us on a path to authorprenuership. While here, mini had the opportunity to do her first book reading at the Liberated Minds homeschool group, Roots to Fruit.
In between time, we’ve decided to make mini trips. We met up with out old homeschool group and shot a few more Us School videos. Then we headed to North and South Carolina. I typically have a list of places we’re going to visit – historical sites and fun oddities. This time I posted in the Black Travel Movement Facebook group and received a bunch of advice about places to visit.
We visited the largest bureau of drawers, the largest Barney Fife chair, the world’s largest fire hydrant (but Texas has one too), and a few momuments along the way.
After we met one of our Us School families, we headed out and spent the night at a rest area (#StealthVanLife…kinda). The plan was to visit the Brattonsville Plantation early the next morning. I had my reservations about visiting a living plantation. I didn’t know what to expect. But, before we got there, I typed ‘historical sites’ in my GPS and the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum popped up. So, we went. For mini’s learning, every time we visit a site, she has to tell me three things she’s learned and I have to tell her three things I learned. We definitely learned a lot.
I don’t know how many times I’ve stated this, but even with a degree in African and African American History, the foundation was laid, but the knowledge came from research. If I hadnt’ pursued more information, and continue to do so every day, I wouldn’t know about events outside of slavery, Jim Crow, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights Movement. Here was a woman that deserves just as much recognition as Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells, Harriet Tubman, and Madame C.J. Walker, not to take anything away from those amazing women, but they were the only women I ever learned about in a historical context as it related to African American women. I could write a whole article about this museum and the woman but I’ll recommend you either go there yourself or do some research.
Next, we headed to the living plantation. I didn’t know what part of the “living” was going to be present. Thankfully, it wasn’t people re-enacting enslavement. The focus was on the Barton family, the American Revolution, and the Civil War. However, I did not care to hear the history of a family that enslaved 139 people and became a part of the top 1% wealthy in the county. Wealth that helped their family, like many other European American families today, pass down generational wealth. Wealth that was derived off the backs and labor of those they enslaved. I went on the recommendation of Dr. Lisa Barton (see images above) who discovered a line of her lineage when she went through the archives of the plantation. Those were the stories i was interested in hearing. You can learn more about her families legacy here.
The plantation visit was definitely an experience. Knowing Dr. Barton was trace her family to this plantation reminded me of the first time I went searching for my ancestors. My last name was only linked to a plantation.
Finally, we headed to South Carolina when I saw a historical marker pointing towards a monument for the Tuskegee Airmen. Later that night, we watched a documentary about the men.
The next day we arrived in Charleston where I booked a Gullah Tour hoping to learn more about the Gullah/Geechee people. It was more focused on the history of Charleston but still really informative.
We stopped at the old slave mart, went by the prison Denmark Vesey was held in (if you don’t know who that is, he was arrested in his connection to plan a slave insurrection). Interestingly enough, the prison was built next to a building that housed orphaned black boys. The building later became the Hosuing Authoritiy. The homes currently surrounding the jail are the projects. The project houses are made from the same bricks that caused the jail to close after a fire. The out in the open relation of poverty and imprisonment…I can’t even find the words to explain my thoughts.
One thing I focus on when teaching Jayla about the history of slavery is not from what I learned about enslaved people being complacent/content. There were over 250 rebellions in the U.S. These are the stories I share with her. When we went to Senegal last summer, one of my fondest parts of the trip was learning about the Africans that rebelled and fought against the Europeans coming to steal humans from their homes. I heard people say, “Well, Africans sold Africans,” as if this were a justifiable excuse but I never heard the story about Africans that fought back and rebelled.
Headed back to Atlanta, we decided to swing through Savannah and take a walking tour. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and the two museums we wanted to visit were closed. We did make a short stop at Sullivan Island before we left South Carolina (known as the Ellis Island of the Carolinas even though the people coming through Sullivan Island were not coming by choice).
We’re headed to Alabama next week and by the first week of March we plan on being in Florida, after Florida we’re headed to Louisiana and then Texas. If it doesn’t work out like that, it’s fine. I’m still working on being less confined (whiled living in a van, right) to a schedule.
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