“The origin of the word is slavery,” said Cynthia Robinson, Black Studies professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. “Enslavement until death. Selling your child. And rape. And beatings. And dehumanization. That’s what the word means.”
“You cannot overstate the power of the word ‘plantation,’” said Preston Love Jr., North Omaha activist. “For our race, it’s a euphemism for the dark days.”
It’s true that 10 or 20 years ago, the word “plantation” didn’t stir much controversy. Neither did Confederate monuments. But over the past year especially, old symbols face new scrutiny.
Last summer, in states across America, activists pressured their communities to remove “Plantation” from businesses and housing developments. White Southerners historically considered the word a nostalgic marketing tool, evoking class and elegance. Blacks generally didn’t view it that way.
“Please hear me when I say that the word ‘plantation’ makes us feel unwelcome and disparaged in the very place where our families have lived and worked for generations,” a 16-year-old student, Isabella Miller, wrote in a South Carolina op-ed last June.
Omaha is 1,200 miles from Hilton Head Island, but the symbol is the same. “Any reference to plantation is going to reveal one’s ignorance,” Robinson said.
Credit: Source link