Big house and the small house, and the dark history they tell

In May 2000, I took a road trip through Louisiana and Mississippi. I photographed a number of slave cabins and old plantations. My notes are buried somewhere, and one day I might dig them up. I do not recall getting the name of this old plantation home in southern Mississippi. I photographed it from the distance, from the road. If you look close, there are two cabins to the left. Those are the slave cabins. On many plantations, the “small house” stood very close to the “big house.” All of the plantation’s wealth was derived from using slave labor to grow cotton and other agricultural commodities sold to local, national, even international markets. It was a system built and sustained by the lash, as President Abraham Lincoln so eloquently referenced in his Second Inaugural Address.



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