Whitney: Our mission is to educate the public

Published 11:48 am Saturday, June 13, 2020

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As we watch the unfolding of events in response to the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, AhmaudArbery and so many others whose names don’t make it into the national news, our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones and the thousands of people exercising their right to peaceful protest.

Violence against Black people in this country is nothing new. Africans and their descendants have suffered violence and repression in this country for over 400 years. It has taken many forms: slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, disenfranchisement, land theft and incarceration.

At Whitney Plantation, our mission is to educate the public about the history of slavery and its legacies through programming, outreach and research. The work we do daily provides context and understanding about these events.

The only meaningful change we have seen against these historical wrongs has come from a groundswell of activism. Whether rising up from Louisiana’s sugar plantations in 1863 and refusing to remain enslaved or marching on Washington in 1963 to demand voting rights, the African-American grassroots political tradition has been central to achieving benchmark legislation and extending rights to all.

We see this current moment as a continuation of the important, long tradition of resistance and protest in this country. We state unequivocally that

Black lives matter, that Black stories matter, that Black history matters.

We can’t understand where we are if we don’t know where we came from.

Whitney Plantation will highlight stories of Black activism and protests in the weeks to come. We hope you will join us in learning and reflection. On July 8, we will have our second virtual book club, which is a free event open to all, where we will be discussing Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You. We celebrate Juneteenth this year by re-opening on June 19. We look forward to welcoming you back.

– Submitted by Ashley Rogers and the Whitney Plantation Board of Directors