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Sleeping in Former Slave Quarters

Bed and breakfasts in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina.

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The idea of converting former slave quarters for use as guest rooms in bed and breakfasts -- which has happened at some Southern U.S. inns, as well as a few in other countries -- is controversial.

Some people decry it as "a slap in the face" to the reality of history; others say the owners of these properties have a right to do the renovations and claim that those offended by it are over-reacting.

In an Associated Press article, Angela da Silva of the National Black Tourism Network said, "That's truly whitewashing slavery." In the same article, Jean-Luc Maumus, the French-born manager of Louisiana's Monmouth Plantation, said, "These are buildings with some history. We are not responsible for the history. The history's there ... Either you live with your past or you destroy it."

At NiaOnline, columnist Jill Kelly pointed out that some inns refer to the slave quarters as "servants' quarters," "carriage houses," or "dependencies."

The success or failure of former slave quarters as accommodations rests on the answer to this question: Will guests stay in these rooms? As you consider whether or not you'd feel comfortable sleeping in former slave quarters, here are links to some bed and breakfasts which offer that opportunity.

Kentucky

A Rosemark Haven
Bardstown, Kentucky
Among the seven guest rooms at this bed and breakfast are the Stiles Master Suite, which occupies the entire second floor of the former slave quarters and has a private entrance, and the Dane Room, which has a 20-foot hearth and occupies the ground floor of the slave quarters. The restored 1830s home features a three-story, oval spiral staircase, 12- and 13-foot ceilings, wide plank yellow poplar and ash floors, antiques, and a fireplace in every room.

Louisiana

B&W Courtyards Bed and Breakfast
New Orleans, Louisiana
Adjacent to the French Quarter in the Faubourg Marigny, this bed and breakfast consists of three 19th-century buildings connected by courtyards and containing six guest rooms. The old slave quarters have been transformed into a Barbados-style beach house.

Mississippi

Monmouth Plantation
Natchez, Mississippi
At this 1818 Greek Revival estate, guests can select accommodations in the main house (four rooms and two suites), garden cottages (four rooms), carriage house (four suites), plantation suites (six suites), Quitman's retreat (one room and two suites), pond cottages (two rooms and one suite) or courtyard building (three rooms and one suite), which is the former kitchen and slave quarters. Surrounded by 26 landscaped acres with a rose garden, pergola, moss-draped oak trees, ponds and walking trails, the plantation hosts weddings and receptions as well as business conferences.

North Carolina

The Boxley Bed and Breakfast
Madison, North Carolina
At this bed and breakfast set on a hill downtown, the original, one-story house antedates the establishment of Madison (circa 1785) and the two-story Greek/Federal-style house was constructed in 1825, with additions in the early 1830s and 1930. English boxwoods that are more than 150 years old line the front walk and driveway, and American boxwoods are present throughout the gardens in the back yard of the one-acre-plus property. Guests can choose from three rooms in the main house and a room in a separate cottage, originally the slave quarters.

The next page of this feature includes slave quarter accommodations in South Carolina, Virginia, and South Africa.

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