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Charlotte Area News

Mecklenburg County To End Contract With Latta Plantation After Controversial Juneteenth Event

Latta Plantation
Carol M. Highsmith Archive
/
Library of Congress

Mecklenburg County will not renew its contract with Historic Latta Planation after a planned Juneteenth event listing at the Huntersville 19th century home site caused an uproar on social media and was condemned by local government officials.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones speaks to Mecklenburg County commissioners.

Lee Jones, Mecklenburg County’s Park and Recreations director, told county commissioners Tuesday night that the annual agreement will not be renewed when it expires June 30.

“We have zero tolerance for programs that do not embrace equity and diversity,” Jones said at the scheduled commissioners’ meeting. He said he informed Latta Plantation of the decision earlier Tuesday.

After the listing for an event called “Kingdom Coming” was discovered Friday, it swiftly drew rebukes from Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, Mecklenburg County and the town of Huntersville for the language used to describe the event that promised to deliver stories from “the massa himself,” telling stories of “white refugees” and Confederate soldiers.

The web post was taken down Friday and the event was canceled.

But one day later, the site’s manager posted a 1,300-word defense of the event and wrote, “no apology will be given for bringing a unique program to educate the public about former slaves becoming FREE!”

“The outrage in the community is real,” County Commissioner Mark Jerrell said. “The outrage from the board members is real.”

Jones said Latta Plantation also had planned summer camps for children that would train them in how to be Confederate soldiers and Southern belles, and he has urged the site to cancel those programs.

Huntersville Commissioner Stacy Phillips said on Twitter that $20,000 that was requested of the town of Huntersville to fund Latta Plantation is now “null/void” after Mecklenburg County announced its decision to end its contract with the site.

According to The Charlotte Observer, Latta Plantation occupies about six acres on Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s Latta Nature Preserve, and the county allocates about $30,000 each year to subsidize Historic Latta’s operating costs. It is responsible for physical repairs at the house, Chris Matthews, division director for nature preserves and natural resources, told The Observer.

A nonprofit has managed day-to-day operation of the plantation since the 1970s.

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