Slavery

The black laborers on John Williams’ plantation never seemed to leave or complain. It took some digging to find out why

For some men the only solution to the dilemma of blacks and whites together was for the blacks to go back where they came from

Packed like animals in the holds of slave ships, Negroes bound for America were prey to disease, brutal masters, and their own suicidal melancholy.

Without doubt they were Washington, who walked carefully within the Constitution, and Lincoln, who stretched it as far as he dared

A southern woman’s memoir of a by-gone era

There are many ways of looking at the now-vanished plantation society of the pre-Civil War South. One of them is the way of legend—white-pillared plantation, a leisured and courtly life centering in it, charming women and gallant men consciously living up to a tradition which has lingered on as a memory long after the reality has gone. A small bit of that legend—faithful to the magnolia-and-roses tradition, but embodying an authentic fragment of real human experience—is presented here, in a memoir written years ago by Cornelia Barrett Ligon, who spent her girlhood on Newstead Plantation, near Jackson, Mississippi, and who in 1932, as very aged woman, set down her reminiscences of the old days. From notes she wrote and dictated, her daughter Lucile Ligon Cope of Port Arthur, Texas, has put together the following account of what life on legendary Old South plantation was like, and how the war finally came to the plantation and ended an era. AMERICAN HERITAGE presents this memoir as an interesting fragment of the legend and the tradition of fabulous Dixie.     Read more >>