Following criticism, Historic Latta Plantation in Huntersville, North Carolina has canceled an event that promised to share the story of “white refugees.”
On Friday (June 11), Latta Plantation shared a Facebook post with a racist description of an event that was set to take place next Saturday, June 19 (Juneteenth). The description omits Black people’s enslavement to white people in the United States, but focuses on an anonymous slave owner who referred to himself as “massa '' and the struggles he faced as a so-called “white refugee.”
Latta Plantation faced backlash following the Facebook post and website description, with people calling the event -- which doesn’t acknowledge the importance of Juneteenth -- “unbelievable” and “disgusting.” Attendees were set to hear stories from the slave owner about being chased out of his own house by “Yankees” and how slaves were getting good cuts of meat, which Black people (referred by Latta as “former bondsmen'') were not allowed to have.
“White refugees have been displaced and have a story to tell as well,” a now-deleted Facebook description read. “Confederate soldiers who will be heading home express their feelings about the downfalls of the Confederacy.”
On Friday afternoon, Mecklenburg County issued out a statement in response to the event promo.
“Mecklenburg County has zero tolerance for programs that do not embrace equity and diversity. Parks and Recreation was not aware of the planned event at Latta Nature Preserve until it appeared on social media,” the statement reads. “We immediately reached out to the organizers and the event was canceled. As a result of this incident, Mecklenburg County is looking at its contract with the facility vendor regarding future programming.”
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyle added her take on the matter via Twitter, noting that Juneteenth “should be celebrated and honored in the most humble way possible, with laser focus on the perspective of the inhumane treatment of an enslaved people.”
“Despite intent, words matter,” she added. “And the Historic Latta Plantation should know better.”
The Huntersville Board of Commissioners will not give an annual $20,000 contribution to the preserve until more investigation is done around “the facts surrounding this program.”
(Photo: Historic Latta Plantation website)