The website ATTN: has brought something rather disturbing to my…well…attention:
Plantation Weddings are actually a thing. Yeah, you read that right. White people in the south get all dressed up, dance, kiss, and eat cake on the historical sites that were once plantations ran on the backs of slaves. According to the site, they caught up with event planner Jordan A. Maney, a black woman who runs the incredible All The Days Events Company. She explains that she received a call to plan an event just like any other day, however, this call came with a surprising twist: They asked Maney to plan a wedding at Kendall Plantation (in Texas, big shocker!) As a black woman, Maney was obviously caught off guard and then rightfully angry that someone would even expect her to plan that kind of event.
Maney’s business thrives off of diverse and unconventional weddings but I think this bride might have taken it one step too far, and the business owner seems to agree.
Images from Jordan Maney’s Facebook via ATTN:
From All The Days Event’s business page:
“Would you use any other monument of human suffering as a backdrop to your big day? If you didn’t know, now you know!”
Maney also mentions that she’s unsure as to why the south STILL romanticizes and glamorizes the painful history and suffering millions were forced to go through. Southern plantations that housed slaves and forced labor were actual breeding grounds for trauma and abuse. People were raped, killed, beaten, and starved on those grounds. It’s no wonder that Maney also compares it to celebrating on a graveyard- because that’s basically what it is.
You’d think this would be a one-off instance but it’s actually not. Southern Celebrations listed plantations as one of the top ten trends for weddings in the South and many celebrities (aka Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds) have also gotten married on a plantation.
Nottingham Plantation, which is in the town of White Castle, proudly alludes to rustic southern culture and doesn’t try to hide the fact that the building was once home to five hundred slaves. The website refers to the plantation as a resort and describes it as “The South’s largest antebellum mansion, and the mere fact that she actually is still standing is a tribute to the tenacity, courage, and commitment of many people throughout her history.” The site also glorifies the man who owned and had the mansion built by slaves in the 1800’s as a “savvy, smart business man.”
The “resort” still has the slave quarters, the bells white children used to summon slaves and indirectly refers to slaves as furniture. Instead of the mansion being criticized for housing a plethora of slaves, it is revered as a courageous historical monument and is used as a place of rest and relaxation.
“Unsurprisingly, the racist history of slave plantations has been unfairly normalized and white washed. Because unlike other countries who are ashamed of their bigotry and have turned places of suffering into sacred monuments and grieving sites, the United States chooses to erase the history of ours and use them as places for merriment and celebration. We choose to dance on graves instead of respecting and mourning them.”
As white people, I believe we have to do better. We have taken so many things as victims of appropriation and we have never stopped to listen to the pain of the people we have oppressed. We need to respect the feelings of black men and women and we need to understand that some spaces weren’t meant for us. Plantations being one of them.
It hasn’t been that long since slavery, the plantations are not ours to reclaim, and if you can forget that easily what actually happened at these plantations then you seriously need to check your moral compass. It is beyond me why anyone would find a place of torture, pain and suffering romantic. Just because the landscape appears to be pretty, doesn’t erase the fact that dark things happened there. Just because you or your family can’t sense the eerie connection to plantations doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t.
You wouldn’t hold a wedding or vacation in a cemetery or a concentration camp. You wouldn’t hold a wedding or vacation at the 9/11 memorial site or at Pearl Harbor. So why on earth would you do either in a place where black people were tortured, degraded, and reduced to nothing but a piece of property?
The truth is that we can try and rewrite the painful history of these plantations. We can try to eradicate the pain and suffering behind them, but we will fail miserably. Because people will always remember and people will always have strong emotions connected to it. No matter what.
Maybe, for once, we can try to honor the lives that were taken by ignorance and bigotry instead of overlooking and undermining them. Maybe, for once, we can admit to our mistakes and face them head-on, providing a permanent reminder to never let something as dreadful as that happen ever again.
**A huge thanks to ATTN: who without, this “trend” never would’ve been brought to Affinity’s attention. We are grateful for the resources provided and we are honored to be able to cite you as our leading source of information on this topic.
Update as of January 18th, 2017: We mistakenly stated that Nottingham Plantation refers to itself as “The White Castle.” It is actually in the town of White Castle.