My visit to Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana
The history of the plantations we had the opportunity to visit is heartbreaking. The property is breathtakingly beautiful, but at what cost? While at the plantation, we learned all about the family that lived inside the “big house,” as they called it. We learned about the family who owned slaves. I kept thinking, “Why am I learning about these awful people?” I don’t want to learn about the people who owned slaves, I want to learn about the slaves. I’d rather learn about their struggles and heartbreak and everything in between.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to learn about the details of their lives. Because they didn’t have the means to tell their stories. The rich owners had possessions and letters and things that were left behind to tell the story of their lives. But the slaves had nothing, which means they had nothing to leave behind that could tell us their story. And that’s the story I would have wanted to hear.
It’s hard for me to fathom this was real. How were there people like this who could own slaves? Where were the people that knew in their soul this was wrong? And how can our country claim it was founded in the name of freedom, if there were so many that weren’t free?
Change doesn’t come from comfort zones
As a white person, it’s easy to not think about these things. Knowing the harm that so many white people caused, makes it uncomfortable for us. And for some reason, admitting that racism is still prevalent in our society is hard for most white people. We don’t associate ourselves with racism, so we stand back and stay out of the conversations. That’s easy, I suppose. But living a life of doing what’s easy and comfortable, isn’t the life I want. I’d rather do what’s right. I’d rather stand up and speak up. I’d rather chase change than give into apathy.
I encourage you to do the same. To step out of your own shoes and view things from a different perspective. It’s not enough to say we’re not racist, we must actively fight against racism. Because it’s there. And if we don’t see it, it’s because we’re not looking for it. So, let’s do this together! Let’s use our voice to speak against what we know is wrong. It will be uncomfortable… but that is how we’ll grow. Because at the end of the day, do you really want to have chosen comfort over courage?
I want to share these photos I took at the plantation, because I was in awe of the beauty of Oak Alley! Being from Phoenix, we barely even have trees, let alone places with this much greenery and charm. This was absolutely magical to see! We loved exploring it together and my nephew Lincoln, enjoyed running all over! But I couldn’t share these photos without acknowledging what happened here. And honoring the people who kept these grounds running for so many years.
These last 2 photos were from a different plantation nearby! We only took a tour of Oak Alley, but we drove around to see a few others from the street. This line of tree looks endless and so beautiful!