Touring McLeod Plantation

12 October 2021

Jordan Fields

McLeod Plantation is a Gullah Geechee historical site that is now used in order to preserve its history and educate those who choose to tour. Built on the backs of enslaved individuals, its land is used to keep that important heritage and history alive. Their goal is to “shift the dialogue away from glossy plantation romanticism to the real lived experience of those who owned the land and the enslaved people who worked it. They still hope visitors appreciate exploring the 37-acre former cotton plantation with its cinema-worthy oak allée. But, more importantly, they want them to walk away with a historically accurate perspective of enslaved African Americans who worked there.

While touring McLeod we had a tour guide, John, who gave us insight on the dynamic and culture of Charleston while the plantation was up and running. We learned a lot about the history of Charleston as well as how the plantation had been used and developed throughout that time period.

It was important for us as a group to visit McLeod so that we all could get a better understanding of what slavery was like and what plantation culture was like in the Charleston area. We gained a greater knowledge of what life was like on that specific plantation and a bit about the surrounding area. We also got to look at the utility of that specific plantation from an economic perspective. It had evolved from a piece of property that had once been used to enslave individuals, to a venue for profit, to now being used as a somewhat educational tool. Looking at it from another lens I would also say it was important for us to visit so we could grasp how ironic the whole situation was. We showed up to a place full of white smiling faces, where black individuals once lived in fear. Tourists now flood the grounds of where people were denied the right to leave.