It’s not often that you get a chance to walk inside a home built around 1735 and once occupied by someone who signed the Declaration of Independence.
I was in Myrtle Beach recently, but I didn’t have much time to do anything. I was only in and out for my sister’s wedding, but as usual, when I travel, I have to see some sort of history. Well, South Carolina sure has a lot of … history. Complicated. Ugly. Fascinating. That’s how I would describe seeing the Hopsewee Plantation about 10 or so miles outside of Georgetown, South Carolina.
Originally owned by Thomas Lynch, Jr., the property obviously became the site of slavery. Lynch, Jr., not even a month after signing the Declaration of Independence, already had treachery on his lips, threatening South Carolina’s secession from the United States over the issue of slavery.
It’s not clear how many slaves were on the property over the years, but the slave quarters, two little houses, still stand on the property. The slaves were the Gullah people, who resided in the Lowcountry region of the United States, i.e., the coast of South Carolina working rice and indigo fields.
That’s also something I didn’t know until this past week. I’ve always heard about slaves picking cotton or even working tobacco fields, but I’d never heard about rice fields and slaves. However, South Carolina’s big crop that made it rich off the back of slaves was rice.
Zenobia Washington, who did the Gullah portion of the tour, shared a poem she wrote written in English and also in the language the Gullah people would have written it in:
I think for me the most unsettling aspect of the plantation was the designated tea room with an enormous chandelier. A bunch of old white women occupied the space and it felt like something straight out of the 1800s. I don’t mean to imply that those women are racist or anything, but the juxtaposition of having tea on a slave plantation, well, sort of paints the picture itself.
Anyhow, I wanted to share with you the photos I took from the plantation: