Over the past week, I’ve posted stunning images of Nottoway Plantation on my social media accounts, but there is one photo I’ve waited to share with you—the staircase leading up to the butler’s pantry. These stairs were used by slaves to carry food to their masters and mistresses. Notice how they dip in the center. While visiting the plantation, I learned the Nottoway family didn’t abuse their slaves like other owners. Despite the common misconception all slave owners were hard-hearted, historical documentation suggests several slave masters were kind and fair. This extension of grace was certainly a blessing to a bondservant. Nonetheless, the injustice of slavery should never be overlooked. This staircase reminds me that beyond the beautiful homes and interesting artifacts, lies a history of oppression and prejudice inflicted on a group viewed as subhuman. It is the resiliency of those enslaved that continues to captivate my heart and drive my passion for writing about the antebellum era.

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