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The National Park Service’s ‘Slave For A Day’ Event Might Not Be A Great Idea

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I’m sure the National Park Service does a lot of good, but I can’t help but wonder about the “Slave For A Day” event they have scheduled for July 8 at the Hampton National Historic Site in Maryland. No really. According to the web site, if you go to the Hampton Farm Site on July 8 at 1:00 PM, you can learn about slavery through direct experience! And to keep the theme going, the cost for such an exciting event is: free. Here’s how the web site describes it:

First time ever at Hampton!  Experience what it may have been like being enslaved.  Work in the fields with actual hoes and scythes.  Carry buckets of water with a yoke on your shoulders!  Park Ranger Angela Roberts-Burton will be in period clothing telling tales of the enslaved who labored here.

Experiencing enslavement is fun for the whole family, no? My favorite part of the description is where it says you can “carry buckets of water with a yoke on your shoulders!” It’s the exclamation point that makes it the best.

I have absolutely no doubt that this day of enslavement fun was designed with the best of intentions. No doubt at all. Hampton’s specialty is teaching about slavery, after all. But did they think how the “slave for a day” promotion might not translate so well?

It does remind me of the great, completely NSFW (due to language) story one young man told on YouTube about the most racist field trip he ever took:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PToqVW4n86U?version=3]

OK, sorry for the language and what not but that kid completely cracks me up.

Oh. As I’m typing this, it seems that the National Park Service has come to think better of its Slave For A Day promotion. So if you were going to pack the kids and dog into the car and head to Hampton, you’ll now have to attend the:

Walk a Mile, a Minute in the Footsteps of the Enslaved on the Hampton Plantation

Heh. Not a slave for a day so much as a slave for a minute. I guess they got the message. And now, we’re told:

Park Ranger Angela Roberts-Burton will be in period clothing telling tales of the enslaved who labored here. Experience agricultural labor that enslaved people may have performed at Hampton.  Work in the fields with actual hoes and scythes.  Carry buckets of water with a yoke on your shoulders.

Admission is still free but you’ll have to pay for exclamation points, it seems.

I’m sure we’ll all laugh about this some day.