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Republicans Meet in Burwell Plantation Room to Discuss Communicating with Minorities
Republicans are on a retreat right now to figure out what they can do to save their party. One of the areas they must work on is their reputation as anti-minority, so where better to go than to stay at a resort celebrating old plantation grounds and meet in a room named after a slave owner’s plantation.
DC Bureau Chief of Buzzfeed John Stanton has been keeping us all informed about their progress, tweeting updates like, “Rep. Paul Ryan says “I don’t have an answer for ya” when asked about 2016″. Today, he tweeted, “GOP panel on communicating with minorities to be held in the “burwell plantation” room. In a resort in southern Virginia”
GOP panel on communicating with minorities to be held in the “burwell plantation” room. In a resort in southern Virginia
— john r stanton (@dcbigjohn) January 17, 2013
This is where they are plotting how to “court” minorities.
New NRCC Chairman Greg Walden says courting minority and women canidates is a top priority for the 2014 cycle
— john r stanton (@dcbigjohn) January 17, 2013
I presume they are at the aptly named Kingsmill Resort (which is located Southern Virginia and has a Burwell plantation meeting room). “Kingsmill is a place steeped in honored traditions and genuine Southern hospitality. When the first English foot was placed in Virginia, it was here on these grounds that once served as a central part of the area’s plantation life in the 1600s through 1800s.
Today, Kingsmill Resort retains those magnificent traits inherent in Kingsmill’s early life with grand accommodations, gracious hospitality and stately service. The Resort’s Plantation Golf Course is routed along what was once the original Kingsmill Plantation, and other resort properties and features are similarly located on plantation grounds.”
Lots of pictures of white people golfing, playing tennis, spa-ing it up, eating, biking, jet skiing, at the marina, in the pool, on the dock. One black family having summer family fun on the dock. One black person on personal scooter. One black person serving white people. The photos I viewed showed predominantly white people enjoying the “resort”. (Please don’t send me angry emails about the one black person you know who loves Kingsmill.)
Think I’m imagining race where it’s not? You haven’t visited the many “Plantation” style resorts in the South. I have.
I have been subjected to the “glorification” of black people fanning whites on porches as “the good old days”. I’ve seen the flight of Northern whites to Southern “Plantation style” neighborhoods. I’ve seen the ads that show modern day black people waiting on white people, morphing into black and white photos from the good old days of slavery. This is called “nostalgia”.
— John Ballard (@Hootsbudy) January 17, 2013
What are we celebrating with Burwell history in Virgina? Oh, nothing but some good old fashioned “states rights”, my friends. Found under “enslaving Virginia”:
When I read the description of the Ann Powell Burwell Commonplace Book in The Guide to African-American Manuscripts at the Virginia Historical Society, I knew I wanted to see the document…
Burwell moved enslaved men, women, and children from his plantations in King William County and King and Queen County in the Tidewater region to his new land south of the James River in the Piedmont section of the colony. 2 While the move to the Southside gave Burwell the chance to develop a plantation for his sons, it did not represent an opportunity for this merchant’s enslaved men and women. Will, Jupiter, Andrew, Simon, Judy, Sarah, Nancy, and Moll were taken from their homes and forced to create new family and friendship ties in Mecklenburg County. Burwell made no mention of the connections that the move severed or if his enslaved laborers were able to stay in touch with family and friends in the Tidewater.
It seems the Republicans picked well, though, as the Burwell Plantation room not only represents their views on minorities, but also debt! And just like the modern day Republicans, Burwell lamented that selling his slaves would not be sufficient to repay his debts:
Extant documents indicate that John Burwell did not meet all of his financial obligations before he died in the spring of 1788.14 He left a number of debts for his widow, Ann, to pay. The proceedings of a chancery case reveal the extent of his financial problems. Benjamin Powell, Burwell’s executor and father-in-law, informed the judge that John Burwell gave his wife the “use of all his estate after the payment of his just debts, during her widowhood, and empowers his executors, with the consent of his wife, to sell the land whereon he lived at the time of his death, or any part thereof, to assist in paying his debts.” Powell noted “that the slaves and personal estate of his testator will not be sufficient for the payment of his debts: that he conceives it his duty to sell a part, if not the whole of the land, whereon the testator lived, as aforesaid, and has applied to the said Ann Burwell for her consent to make such sale. But now so it is, that the said Ann Burwell, whom your orator prays to be made a defendant to this, his bill, refuses to consent thereto.”
We must all wish the Republicans well with their minorities rebranding project. They are off to a impressively sensitive start. This is how you say, “We get it” in Republicanese.