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Plantation Weddings Symposium Further Reading Syllabus 

10-18-2021 15:40

In 2019, Color of Change, the country’s largest online racial justice organization, raised important issues regarding the practice of hosting weddings and other celebrations at historic slave plantation sites. In response, the National Trust for Historic Preservation hosted in December 2020 the Plantation Weddings Symposium, which brought together staff who work at the National Trust’s sites of enslavement, descendants of slavery, and public historians to work collectively to come up with new strategies, solutions, and questions on how to ethically steward sites of enslavement. The symposium was a collaboration between the National Trust's Historic Sites Department and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

Below is a list of further reading produced after the symposium. It is also available as an attached PDF file.  


  • Elon Cook Lee, director of interpretation and education in the Historic Sites Department at National Trust for Historic Preservation.  
  • Lizzie Mekonnen a 2020 Mildred Colodny Diversity Scholarship recipient and a dual degree masters student in urban planning and historic preservation at the University of Maryland.
  • Kristelle Hicks, the associate manager of special events & sales at Woodlawn and Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, Virginia.
Reading List

Color of Change Campaign -Tell the Wedding Industry There’s Nothing Romantic about Slavery 

 The Color of Change Campaign called on the country’s major wedding platforms to stop glorifying plantations as nostalgic sites of celebration today. 

News Articles 

  Books and Scholarly Articles 

Videos & Podcast Resources   

A pre-recorded symposium session with Dr. Cherry Levin, who teaches at the College of Marin and additionally owns and operates Frances Lane, a boutique event rental studio located in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned her doctorate from the Louisiana State University where she concentrated on various aspects of plantation culture, ultimately focusing on the plantation as a site for both white and black marriages. 

Robin Thede and Mike Yard go undercover in Kentucky to investigate the growing phenomenon of plantation weddings 

White Columns, Southern Fantasies - This segment includes a discussion of nostalgia and southern "neoplantation architecture" with Dr. Philip M. Herrington. 

An exploration of how the term plantation has been used to market a variety of foods, recipes, products, and restaurants. 

General Online Resources 

What is a Plantation? (National Humanities Center Toolbox Library) 


pdf file
Plantation Weddings Syllabus 2020   258 KB   1 version
Uploaded - 10-18-2021
By Elon Cook Lee, Lizzie Mekonnen, and Kristelle Hicks

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