I'm taking part in the #blmplannerchallenge this week led by @queensfancyplans and @katiedid_plans. Like many others, I've been spending a lot of time listening, learning, reading, and educating myself on what I can do better to support and create change. This week's planner spread was an opportunity to reflect on what I've learned recently and to also go through the notes I took when my husband and I visited the Canadian Museum For Human Rights in Winnipeg last year during the Nelson Mandela feature as well as on our February trip to the Whitney Educational Plantation Museum in New Orleans this year. If you haven't been to either museum, I highly recommend both as being excellent educational tours on human rights for all ages.
The Whitney Educational Museum Plantation Tour (just outside New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States)
There are many different plantation tours available outside of New Orleans, but I highly recommend the Whitney Educational Plantation Tour because it speaks truth of the enslaved as opposed to some of the other tours that gloss over the horrifying but real stories of slavery in the Mississippi during the early 19th century. Instead, those tours highlight the opulent architecture, the lives of the rich owners, and the history of the plantation homes. This post is not dedicated to them but rather to those who suffered the endless atrocities while being enslaved at that plantation.
The first building your guide will take you to when visiting the Whitney is the church where you'll see real-life terra-cotta figures that represent an actual child who was enslaved on that plantation. The purpose for these statues inside the church and on the property is to memorialize their stories which may or may not have been told. The Wall of Honour outside of the church is another powerful memorial dedicated to the 350+ people who were enslaved at this plantation. The wall also has direct quotes from those who lived on the plantation, further telling of the horrific conditions and shocking stories that paint a very vivid but accurate picture. We spent quite some time reading these stories, making notes, and just trying to comprehend how slavery could have gone on for so many years. Not original to the plantation but positioned to further educate during the tour is a long barred metal enclosure that was used as actual jail cells and as a punishment for disobedience. I'm sure you can imagine the conditions within that jailhouse--no water or access to a bathroom, no food, no proper insulation to protect from the scalding heat of the sun, just a literal torture chamber. To this day, it still sends shivers down my spine to think of those who were forced into it.
Along a bend in the road off of the main house you'll learn about the bell, which was rung to mark the start of a new day and to remind those enslaved that they didn't have any power or control over their time. And just a few steps further along is the Field of Angels, which is dedicated to the thousands of children who died in St. John the Baptist Parish during the 19th century and whose names are engraved on the granite to help us remember and understand why change is so important.
These are just a few of the stories and tributes dedicated to those enslaved at the Whitney Plantation, and I share them with you because it's an important reminder of why we need to unite and work together to end racism and to create change for a better world. This is not a political issue but rather a humanity issue.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada)
The absolutely breathtaking Canadian Museum for Human Rights was designed by architect Antoine Predock and is a symbol of humanity's struggle to achieve human rights for all. Inside the museum, are seven unique but also interconnected levels that house a collection of historic human rights stories captured through art, audio and video recordings, photographs, maps and diagrams, interactive displays, and artifacts. Come prepared to be educated but also emotionally disheartened at just how cruel humankind can be to itself.
From the powerful Nelson Mandela Struggle for Freedom feature to an exhibit that discusses the stripping of culture and religion from First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children of the '60s scoop and so much more, the museum staff has so delicately captured and shared significant details of humanity's battle for human rights in an educational and unforgettable experience.
To ensure you get the most of your visit, I recommend that you dedicate a full day to spend at the museum. Take notes and capture highlights from your stay with photos and video so that you can share what you've learned with others after you leave.
Although we've surpassed endless challenges as a human race, we still have so very far to go. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to view this museum, and I encourage you to do the same the next time you visit Winnipeg. 💕