National Register of Historic Places Often Ignores Slavery's Significance on American SouthBreaking News
tags: slavery, Mount Vernon, Monticello, plantations, National Register of Historic Places, Antebellum South
(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) — Antebellum Southern plantations were built on the backs of enslaved people, and many of those plantations hold places of honor on the National Register of Historic Places — but don’t look for many mentions of slavery in the government’s official record of places with historic significance.
The register’s written entries on the plantations tend to say almost nothing about the enslaved people who picked the cotton and tobacco or cut the sugar cane that paid for ornate homes that today serve as wedding venues, bed-and-breakfast inns, tourist attractions and private homes — some of which tout their inclusion on the National Register like a gold star.
The National Register of Historic Places lists more than 95,000 sites that are important to the story of theUnited States. From some of the most famous places —such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate — to scores of lesser-known plantation homes in the rural South, register entries often ignore the topic of slavery or mention it only in passing, an Associated Press review found.
Experts blame a generational lack of concern for the stories of black people and, in many cases, a shortage of records. While some narratives have been updated to include information about enslavement, such changes aren’t mandatory and many have not.
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