I read the July 8 Post and Courier letter to the editor from a visitor to McLeod Plantation who was disappointed by a presentation perceived as a diatribe filled with personal bias, and I must say, one of us went to the wrong plantation.
We went to teach a young family member about the importance of trying to do our best to understand the hurt that some words can cause. This young man had a fight with one of his good friends, who happens to be black, and used a racial slur. After it happened, he realized what he said was wrong and he knew he had hurt his friend’s feelings.
His father explained why it was wrong, but more needed to be done. My wife and I decided he needed to see a real plantation, not a touristy one, but one with real slave cabins.
The docent explained that what appeared to be the front of the plantation house was really the back. The owners preferred to look out over their fields rather than toward the back where the slaves were working along the river.
Our guide, rather than dwell on the physical cruelty that was inflicted on these people, focused on the emotional toll slavery was taking on them.
Our young friend was fascinated and horrified when he learned the families were separated. He couldn’t believe so many people lived in those small cabins. And where was the bathroom? His questions went and on and on, and our guide could not have been more accommodating.
The best part was when our tour guide told the story of a lady whose family had been slaves on the property.
She left the plantation to attend high school in Charleston and swore she would never return to that God-forsaken place. She eventually became a home care health worker and got an assignment with an address that was all too familiar. Her job was to take care of one of the last members of the plantation-owning family.
Though torn, she finally decided to go back and take care of this frail human being who needed her help. As a child, she would never even look at that big house because there must be some God-like creatures living there, and she was not worthy of casting her eyes upon them.
But when she went inside, she saw this pitiful old man and did what her job required. Over time, they were able to get past their history and she managed to lease some of the old slave cabins. She set up a food bank in one, a small church in another. She managed to make something positive out of this horrific place.
I’m sorry the previous letter writer didn’t get as much out of the tour as we did. I have now put McLeod Plantation at the top of my to-do list when visitors come to town. I’m also sure my young friend will want to come along again, too.
Debris on roads
In the July 10 Post and Courier, an editorial described how Charleston area streets are deadly for bicyclists and pedestrians.
I would like to add one point. The bicycle lanes and road shoulders that bicyclists often travel are nearly unusable due to debris.
I just returned from riding the IOP connector to and from the Isle of Palms. I encountered 10 boxes, pieces of lumber and tire tread, plastic bait containers, car parts, broken glass, palm tree branches and gravel.
Supposedly someone has a contract to remove debris monthly from the connector. Clearly they are not doing it.
A friend of mine recently fell after striking a PVC pipe on the connector. The fall resulted in a partial hip replacement.
Other area streets that I ride requiring attention include Morrison, Meeting (north of Morrison), Spruill and Lockwood.
Most of these could be made rideable simply with a monthly street sweeping and a truck crew occasionally picking up larger debris.
I join with others in asking for more bike lanes, road shoulders and bike trails. But in the meantime, please clean up the existing ones to permit safe usage.
USC president vote
As a graduate of the University of South Carolina and a trustee emeritus, I am worried by the political influence surrounding the apparent election of the next president of my university.
I don’t know the candidates personally and have only read what is being reported.
If the vote is held Friday as planned, one candidate appears to have enough support to win by a small margin. Unfortunately, this candidate appears to be unacceptable to the faculty and many of the students as well as a number of the board members.
It seems to me the proper course of action is to delay this vote and reopen the search.
Don’t rush to hire a candidate based on influence from the governor, or other political operatives. And please don’t be hoodwinked into hiring because there’s a rumor he has another job offer.
Our university deserves the best leader available. He or she may still be waiting on a call. What’s the rush?
Brian Hicks is right about gerrymandered political districts. He rightly notes that 40% of South Carolina citizens vote for Democratic candidates. As such, we should ask our legislators to ensure that each congressional district have a composition of 40% Democratic voters and 60% Republican voters.
ROBERT W. MARLOWE