Did you know that the oldest family run business in America is a plantation?

Shirley Plantation Launched with a government land grant in 1613, approximately 15 generations later white descendants of the Hill and Carter family continue to live and profit from the generational wealth built on the backs of chattel slave labor.

From #tobacco to #tourism the #financialsecurity that accompanies #landownership continues to provide comfort and stability for this family. Tours of the “Big House” are restricted to certain times and floors because family members still live there! Imagine never having to move or look for housing …. What a gift their #ancestors left them at the expense of those who toiled in the surrounding fields and built the pristine structures left behind that I toured. What will you leave behind? A home or sneakers? What will your legacy be? You were Gucci down to the socks or you created a lane to sustain your family for generations to come?

Walking the grounds of Shirley was surreal. This is my third plantation of the year but the first I visited where I was the only visitor. It was deafeningly silent. It felt ghostly in the physical but spiritually there was so much presence and insight to unpack. The wind of the James river swayed the grass and trees boasting the natural beauty of Virginia. Certain foot paths and small structures made it clear that this was and remains a place of business and productivity. The Shirley, a working plantation that evolved with the times but never lost the stench of oppression.