What Visiting Plantations Taught Me About Historical Erasure
"I spent the summer of 2016 visiting plantations across the south in attempt to learn more about Leanna’s life. While I’d read about plantations, I felt I needed to see these places in person to get a true sense of them."
I once read about how trauma can be inherited, that it’s possible for trauma to leave a chemical mark on a person’s genes to be passed down to future generations. My mother was a damaged woman but how much of that damage was inherited? I wanted to understand more of what had led my mother to be the way she was. I felt like I needed to learn the past in order to understand my present, and if I explored my family’s history then I could find some sort of answer.
My family used to tell this story about one of my ancestors, a woman by the name of Leanna Brown, my great-great grandmother, who was once a slave to North Carolina Senator Bedford Brown. She had a relationship with a man on a nearby farm, had three children with him. One of them, the boy, was able to carry on the name of his father.