I’d like to introduce you to the
Whitney Plantation, about 45 minutes west of New Orleans and unlike any plantation I’ve ever attended. It was more like visiting Auschwitz than a celebration of the Antebellum way of life. Which is as it should be.
Children of the Whitney sculptures by Woodrow Nash, representing the formerly enslaved children as they were at the time of their emancipation.
The Antioch Baptist Church is not original to the Whiney Plantation. In September of 1870, the Anti-Yoke Society purchased two tracks of land in Paulina, LA from Michael Martin and erected a building that was used for church services. The original structure still exists today. This building became known as the Anti-Yoke Baptist Church. The church was renamed Antioch Baptist Church in 1890 and was the only Black church for miles on the east bank of the Mississippi River.
“We jus’ have co’n bread and syrup and some times fat bacon, but when I et dat biscuit, she comes in and say, ‘What dat biscuit?’ I say, ‘Miss I et I’s so hungry.’ Den she grab dat broom and start to beatin’ me over de head wit it and calling’ me low down n** and I guess I jes’ clean los my head ’cause I know’d better dan to fight her if I knowed anything ‘tall, but I start to fight her and de driver, he comes in and he grabs me and starts beatin’ me wid dat cat-o’-nine tails. And he beats me ’till I fall to de floor nearly dead. He cut my back all to pieces, den de rub salt in de cuts for mo’ punishment. I’s only 10 years old.” Julien, born ca. 1845
De slaves was punished for fights, being late for work, lying, runnin’ away, and stealin’. Dey would put you in a stock. Your hands and foots was buckled up and you stayed here for months.” Elisabeth Rose Hite
“No, Indeed, my master didn’t want no children to work. He used to say all de time, ‘Don’t let dee little darkies work. It might hurt dem, and der is enough of de older darkies on dis farm for work.’ And listen, der was two nurses in de hospital to take care of de children. Der mothers did not have time to take care of dem. All de master wanted was for de women to have children.” Jean Alb, born 1749 (In 1850 the average enslaved person in the American South cost the equivalent of $40,000.)