Black History : Descendants Own Plantation Land of their Enslaved Ancestors

cherryblossom

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The Black-Owned Alabama Plantation That Taught Me the Value of Home​

AFTER EMANCIPATION, EX-SLAVES TOOK OVER THE COTTON FIELDS. TODAY THEIR DESCENDANTS STILL CHERISH THE LAND.​

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James Lyles, 69, one of the descendants of former slaves who bought the Alabama cotton plantation where they'd formerly toiled. Lyles and other descendants held the property in common and undivided, to be shared by all the heirs. Photo courtesy of Sydney Nathans.
BY SYDNEY NATHANS
FEBRUARY 8, 2018

...No one knew the history of the black people who bought the Cameron plantation better than one man. Louie Rainey, I came to find out, was the oral historian of the community. Born in 1906, he grew up in the household of his grandmother, who shared stories of slavery and freedom with her inquisitive grandson. Gifted with a prodigious memory, Louie Rainey became a collector of narratives for the entire settlement. For decades, his porch was the place where everyone came to visit, the old to share stories of the past, the young to hear him retell the tales. On that porch, starting in 1978 and until his death in 1986, he shared those vivid accounts with me....

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