BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Antebellum Southern plantations were built on the backs of enslaved people, and many of those plantations hold places of honor on the National Register of Historic Places – but don’t look for many mentions of slavery in the government’s official record of places with historic significance.
The register’s written entries on the plantations tend to say almost nothing about the enslaved people who picked the cotton and tobacco or cut the sugar cane that paid for ornate homes that today serve as wedding venues, bed-and-breakfast inns, tourist attractions and private homes — some of which tout their inclusion on the National Register like a gold star.
The National Register of Historic Places lists more than 95,000 sites that are important to the story of the United States. From some of the most famous places — such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate — to scores of lesser-known plantation homes in the rural South, register entries often ignore…
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