Latta Plantation Closed After Uproar Over Controversial Juneteenth Event
A week that began with news that Historic Latta Plantation in Huntersville planned to hold a controversial Juneteenth event has ended with the site’s closure for the foreseeable future, according to the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreations Department.
“Over the next few months, we will evaluate the best path forward for Latta Plantation and its programming, ensuring that the site is utilized in an appropriate, forward-thinking manner," Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Director W. Lee Jones said Thursday in a statement, announcing that the site is closed “until further notice.”
Historic Latta Plantation is closed until further notice. @MeckParkRec will evaluate how to use the site in an appropriate, forward-thinking way » https://t.co/HqgAp1fhGW— Mecklenburg County (@MeckCounty) June 17, 2021
Latta Nature Preserve, Quest and the Raptor Center are unaffected by the closure. pic.twitter.com/V7JdESkwNw
The news comes six days after a since-deleted post on the 19th-century home site’s web page promoted an event on June 19 called “Kingdom Coming” that promised stories “from the massa himself” talking about “white refugees” and people dressed as Confederate soldiers sharing their feelings about the South losing the Civil War.
June 19 is Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.
The event was canceled after backlash from the public, and was quickly condemned by the county, the town of Huntersville and Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. The event’s organizer, site manager Ian Campbell, posted a lengthy response on Latta’s website defending the event.
Wrote Campbell, who is Black: “No apology will be given for bringing a unique program to educate the public about former slaves becoming FREE!”
Campbell hinted at the site's closing in an email exchange with a WCNC reporter that she posted on Twitter on Thursday morning.
Latta Plantation’s site manager denied our request for an interview because he’s waiting for @Oprah. When asked what’s next for Latta, he said to ask @MeckCounty “as they will be in charge of ‘massa’s plantation’ and we are now ‘refugees.’” (Couldn’t make it up if I tried…) pic.twitter.com/RGDlOqF3gr— Tanya Mendis (@tanyamendis) June 17, 2021
Earlier this week, the county and the town of Huntersville both decided to stop funding the nonprofit that runs the site when the annual contract ends June 30.
"As our review continues, we feel it is in the best interest of the community and the property to close for now until other plans can be announced," Jones said Thursday.
The closure of the historic site doesn’t affect the Latta Nature Preserve, which is a popular walking destination, the Carolina Raptor Center or Quest.
A banner on Historic Latta Plantation’s website thanks people for “allowing our historic site to educate you since 1972.”