If you’re ever in the Raleigh/Durham area, you should visit the Stagville Plantation Home and Slave Cabins. There is considerable history worth exploring, such as a slave street, complete with 4 or 5 multi “family” slave cabins and a huge barn built by enslaved men, assembled and the beams joined together by an African system of joints, so, literally, it was built without nails. The barn is awe inspiring because one, it’s incredible inside and two, it proves that those captured/sold from Africa came to their plantation enslavement with skills not seen before by those who enslaved them, but certainly were exploited for the enslaver’s financial gain. There is also a former slave cabin that was converted, post emancipation, as a rental residence for share croppers – a system that was essentially slavery for pennies. Those newly freed men and women, as well as many families with children, post Civil War worked tirelessly tending to the land/crops as share croppers. Usually right on the same land working for their former enslavers. The share croppers were charged fees for everything necesaary to work the land, such as tools, seeds, housing, food, clothing, etc., but at the end of the month when paid there was so little left that a family could not get ahead to leave the land and make a life for themselves somewhere else. The enslaver’s home on this site is modest by the perceived idea of a plantation home, which is what makes this historic site so important. Southern plantations were rarely TARA from Gone With the Wind. This home represents the majority of southern plantation homes. There is a wonderful visitor center on site where you can see the images of some of those who were enslaved on this land, those who lived in the slave cabins you will tour. Additionally, you can read quotes gathered during interviews with former enslaved people who lived on this plantation, and others in the immediate area, during FDR’s WPA program, which yielded us thousands of interviews of freed enslaved people by state…these are such important oral histories. Some former plantations do not tell truthful history, and where this historic plantation site does not specifically talk about the experiences of those enslaved here, they do teach truthful history. In addition to the slave history at this site, the story of this family is worth learning. How they came to choose this spot to build their home and how the home transformed throughout succeeding generations is guranteed to educate the most traveled of history buffs. I highly recommend this plantation. It is a 2 to 3 hour visit and well worth your time.
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