Juneteenth is pushing other slave sites to do a Monticello
...and feature slave sites on the tourist trail
Juneteenth 2023 has brought back memories of visiting Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. The author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States kept a hundred or so slaves at Monticello, his plantation in Charlottesville, Virginia. The slave quarters, including the room occupied by his enslaved mistress Sally Hemings, were on display when I visited.
I remembered Monticello’s slave row – all the little huts lined up along a particular walk – when I read that historic sites linked to slavery and emancipation are getting new attention. And crucially, funding.
The idea is for these sites to be opened up for visitors in order to raise awareness of unflattering episodes in US history.
In fact Monticello is one of the few popular tourist attractions in the US to prominently feature physical reminders about slavery. This has come about, in part, because of pressure from the descendants of those enslaved.
Axios reports further demands for action at former slave quarters across America:
** Since 2017, for example, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has received 5,638 funding proposals requesting $655 million.
** The organisation has invested more than $20 million to help preserve 242 sites.
** The Action Fund announced last week it had awarded $3.8 million to protect 40 Black American historic sites, including “The Slave Dwelling Project” in Ladson, South Carolina and the “(Un)Known Project Augmented Reality App” in Louisville, Kentucky.