Texas Historical Commission removes books about slavery from plantation gift shops

Originally published at: Texas Historical Commission removes books about slavery from plantation gift shops | Boing Boing


Texas conservatives will soon insist that the luxurious lifestyles of white people who lived in those big houses were maintained by coal-driven robots.


We are certainly living through an era where there’s a race to the bottom between a few especially delightful states -sigh-


Michelle Haas is very concerned about the neglect of slave-on-slave violence.

Haas also criticized the Varner-Hogg museum for not focusing enough on slaves who had perpetrated violence against each other at the behest of their enslavers. “Several of the static exhibits at Varner detail the torture inflicted upon the enslaved people who labored there but omit the fact that the chief torturer was one of the slaves,” Haas wrote.

She’s also very concerned that not enough attention is given to the history of conflict between Native Americans and African-Americans.

Haas proposed to Texas Monthly, though not in her emails to the Historical Commission, that plantation gift shops could stock other books in place of those removed. She said there are “adequate replacements for something like Roots that that are maybe closer to home,” specifically suggesting The Color of Lightning, a historical-fiction book loosely based on the life of Britt Johnson, about a former slave who moves from Kentucky to Texas and sees his family attacked by native tribes that are hostile to settlers. “Do I say it should be included because he prospered after [being enslaved]?” Haas said. “No, but it is a historical fiction account of this figure that would be good to include.”


And if Trump gets into the White House again, the race to the bottom will be mandated in every state.


“YoU CaN’T juST TeaR DOwN HiSTORy you DOn’t LiKE.”


Part of me is (disappointingly) slightly surprised that there was any mention of slavery in the first place. On a holiday to the lower environs of the Missippi several years ago, we visited a couple of former plantations, and I’m immensely glad that the first one we chose was the Whitney Plantation, in Louisiana.

I wrote about it, and another one we visited afterwards, here:

(Edited to correct some spelling)


Some plantations are getting more accurate in that respect, not treating the sites as locations for the lost cause myths, but as the violent, brutal places they were. It generally depends on who runs the place though.


Tourist: And what are those buildings set away from the main mansion?

Tour Guide: The [REDACTED] quarters.


I wish every schoolchild in America was required to visit the Whitney Plantation.


The Henry Ford (combined Museum and Greenfield Village) in Dearborn, MI, has a plantation moved from Susquahanna, MD.

The historical documentation continues to change, especially the historic research. The last couple of Christmas’ including this one, the Village discusses the impact of Christmas on the slaves. Getting presents and receiving sweets they made themselves. Dreading the new year, where if the books do not balance, stock is sold off, including slaves, breaking apart families. The Time of Weeping.

It is important for the “Republican Racist parts of the” south to hide or ignore the people that made the rich “White” successful or at least comfortable.

Thank you Mindysan33. I am not from the south, and so I only learned about Rosewood and Tulsa recently, but likely it will not be mentioned in their school books. In addition to the union massacres in the mines. My comment above was incomplete, but it was written to emphasize the more thorough documentation and comments that the Susquahanna Plantation got over time.

But Detroit is not the south. It may have deeply racist history, but it is trying to acknowledge it.


Um… not for all the people in the south who demand that the truth be told - especially the descendants of slaves, who are the primary people doing the work of educating the public on what actually happened at these places…

When you say “the south” that’s not just white racists bent on hiding the truth. There are many people down here doing the work to ensure that it’s not just their voices getting a say. How about you not ignore that?


Following complaints

Hmmm - ‘complaints’ (multiple) seem to be the ‘we need a petition’ approach du jour. Maybe we need more complaints about there not being enough books about slavery!

Or even a petition.

(Yeah - that link is to a perhaps more UK-focused platform, but there must be US ones.)


“Mandatory Guest Quarters” :confused:

There is a living history town on the Missouri side of KC I went to once with the kiddo. I didn’t think too much about it before going. I thought it was supposed to be an early Frontier type place with old buildings from the mid 1800s, and it mostly is, complete with oxen, goats, pigs, and other animals.

I think they don’t use the date in the name as much anymore, but at the time it was called Missouri Town 1855. It wasn’t until I wandered into the lawyer’s office where there were a couple actors discussing politics of the time, joking about crossing into Kansas to vote, that I had the Ratatouille moment where I realized, “Oh, this is from before the Civil War. And we are in Missouri. Wait, what kind of farm is this again?”

I don’t recall them ever making any references to slavery. I am 90% sure it was never mentioned, nor do I recall any buildings like slave quarters, nor buildings labeled a “plantation”, but uh, maybe there should have been? I don’t know the whole history of all of the buildings, so I can’t say for sure if anyone who built the various buildings also had slaves. The large houses were just called “Family Name House”.

It is run by the Jackson Co Parks and Recs and is a popular field trip destination, as I understand it.

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Uh, I think you mean volunteers. Cheerful volunteers. Who were learning valuable job skills. (I wouldn’t be surprised if the GOP started recasting - and relabeling - plantations as job learning centers.)


How poetically just is it that the original enslavers’ family is synonymous with “Pig”.


“amateur historian” aka busybody moron


I think I’m so used to incisive turns of phrase here that I often just overlook them, but this one is just… :kissing_smiling_eyes::ok_hand:

Bravo, sir.


To be fair… there are some great amateur historians, and there are enough professional historians willing to support this crap… the busybody part is correct, tho, but they’re also fascists.


This person Haas’ family has shit on Texas the family is oil scum, she is a trust fund baby they are parasites on stolen land. The oil wells they own in Taft Texas are on land littered with garbage, just like they are.
Google haas-c-f-oil-gas-inc