Friday, August 17, 2012

Boone Hall Plantation

Avenue of Oaks at Boone Hall Plantation, South Carolina
I can not describe to you what it feels like to drive down this Avenue of Live Oaks.  You become so aware of the history, of the people who planted the oaks and of the slaves.  It was an honor and a privilege to drive our Prius down this road.
Slave Street, Boone Hall Plantation
As you drive down the Avenue of Live Oaks, to your left is a Slave Street, a row of small buildings that slaves lived in.  Approximately 15 people to each building.  Only the finest artisan and craftsmen slaves lived in these homes.  The rest lived closer to the fields in rougher shelters.

Spanish moss and cicadas just set such an amazing tone in the South
Prior to our trip down South, the girls and I had studied what life on a plantation was like.  We learned that most plantations were NOT like Tara in Gone with the Wind.  Tara is a Hollywood construct.  Most plantations were just simple farmhouses and their wealthy owners owned posh townhomes in the city where they spent most of their time.  The house on Boone Hall Plantation had actually been torn down and re-built after it was a plantation.  Part of this home is still the private residence of a brother and sister who operate the Foundation.
most plantations were simple farmhouses

Boone Hall Plantation

Many plantation had access to a canal or river so that they could easily transport their goods.
Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation
One of the highlights of our trip was this woman who gave a phenomenal presentation on slave life and Gullah culture.  She described the life of a slave and how their faith in God helped them to make it through their life.  She taught us several spirituals and discussed the importance of them.  By singing these songs the slaves reminded themselves that their reward was in Heaven.  What a wonderful testimony!

The slaves in the Carolinas came from the Gullah culture, very similar to the Creole culture of Louisiana.

We learned that "eating high on the hog" refers to slaves who were given parts of the pig based on their skill level, the most skilled getting the better cuts and the master, of course, getting the best cut.

Learning about slave life and Gullah culture
One of the things that touched me most were these bricks, that were made by slaves.  You can see actual fingerprints in some. 

these bricks were formed by slaves
Several slave families, usually about 15 people lived together in a building this size.  Only the most skilled craftspeople lived here, though.  The slaves that worked in the fields lived in rougher structures closer to the fields.

cicada shell
We took an open-air bus tour of the plantation and learned all kinds of great things.  One of the things we saw was this osprey's nest. 
Osprey nest