What is to be done about the plantation glorification situation? Perhaps we need to rethink that whole scenario and do some radical revamping. During an eight-hour drive from Atlanta to Cocoa, Florida, I came up with a possible solution. This new law would be called Proposition 1492.First, we would compile a list of all homes throughout the country that housed people who owned slaves at any time during the history of the colonization of this continent. This would include all homes, not just the scandalously opulent plantation mansions. Each house would be assigned a number.
Next, there would be a lottery. Anyone could participate and one person would receive one ticket, no exceptions. Each lottery ticket would be assigned a house number. For example, a three-bedroom house in Eufala, Georgia could be H1. A certain number of lottery tickets would be assigned per square yards of that house. Perhaps the house has 1500 square yards and we had decided that there would be one ticket per 300 square yards. That would mean that five people would be given given lottery tickets for house H1.
Each homeowner would be notified that their house was chosen for the lottery. They would be given two options: receive the price the house was worth in 1865, or have it taken under 'eminent domain.' Eminent domain would work in this situation as the lottery is for the good of the people as a way to cleanse our country of these reminders of past atrocities.
There would be one possible way to appeal in which the homeowner would request fair market value for their home: if they are a member of a minority group and could present conclusive evidence that they practiced fairness and decency in their lives. A committee would hear their evidence and decide the outcome. The committee would be made up of people with at least one ancestor who was a slave in this country. The committee would consist of 20 people and the decision would be decided by a public majority vote. Homes that once belonged to Cherokee slave owners would not qualify for appeal because of the recent decision of that tribe to remove enrollment in the tribe from the descendants of freed slaves.
Once the list had been compiled, researched, and confirmed, the tickets would be offered up – first-come-first-served, until all of the tickets were given out. Each person with a ticket would receive a roundtrip ticket and transportation to the site of 'their' house.
All ticket recipients would arrive simultaneously at the designated site. When they arrived at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, they would be given a small sledgehammer and instructed to do as much internal damage as possible before the stroke of midnight. There would be bulldozers and a gasoline tanker standing by.
When midnight arrives, the people would exit the houses and the bulldozers would level the houses. Then the tanker would send a fine spray of gasoline over the rubble and a bottle rocket would be lit and launched into the rubble. As the rubble blazed all over the United States, church bells would toll everywhere; people would sing "We Shall Overcome;" and perhaps, some healing would begin.
Don't talk to me of the destruction of priceless architecture. Think on this: while that slave owner in that splendid house had a fancy birthday party for her child, another woman 500 yards away was filled with grief beyond tears because her child had just been sold. Don't talk to me of inheritance and states' rights – it was all about slavery, plain and simple. Don't talk to me of "slavery was acceptable in those days." No! SOME people who were immersed in their greed and ignorance accepted it. Those who saw clearly did not accept it, and those subjected to the myriad evils of slavery did not accept it. Don't think that ignominious era will be forgotten with the cleansing blaze of a few buildings – we will never forget! Our children must remember the past and make the future better for all the people in this country.