Juneteenth Event Sympathetic to Slave Owners Canceled After Widespread Criticism

An event that was scheduled at the Historic Latta Plantation outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, has been canceled following backlash over its seemingly racist description.

Set to have taken place on Juneteenth (Saturday, June 19), a day that commemorates the emancipation of U.S. slaves in 1865, the event, titled "Kingdom Coming," was promoted on the plantation's website and social media. It failed to mention the significance of Juneteenth, but it promised to tell the story of "white refugees," referring to slave owners.

This morning Latta Plantation removed this Juneteenth event from their online calendar and Facebook page after FB commenters let them know just how awful of an idea it was. pic.twitter.com/8pj8OyuyCr

— Ryan Pitkin (@pitkin_ryan) June 11, 2021

"White refugees have been displaced and have a story to tell as well. Confederate soldiers who will be heading home express their feelings about the downfall of the Confederacy," the description read.

The scheduled event sparked outrage on social media, as commenters on the plantation's Facebook began to share their disgust. While the description of the event has been taken down, many are still commenting on its official page.

"Kingdom Coming" was eventually canceled, and officials have issued statements in response. The town of Huntersville, where the plantation resides, tweeted that it expresses "zero tolerance for programs that do not embrace equity and diversity."

pic.twitter.com/FU7EaUQgWn

— Town of Huntersville (@HuntersvilleGOV) June 12, 2021

Mecklenburg County also tweeted: "Mecklenburg County has zero tolerance for programs that do not embrace equity and diversity. Park and Recreation was not aware of the planned event Latta Nature Preserve until it appeared on social media. We immediately reached out to the organizers and the event was canceled. As a result of this incident, Mecklenburg County is looking at its contract with the facility vendor regarding future programming."

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— Mecklenburg County (@MeckCounty) June 11, 2021

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles took to Twitter to express her disappointment, writing: "We should not support any business or organization that does not respect equality, history, and the truth of the African-American people's journey to freedom."

She added: "Despite intent, words matter. And the Historic Latta Plantation should know better."

We should not support any business or organization that does not respect equality, history, and the truth of the African-American people’s journey to freedom. Despite intent, words matter. And the Historic Latta Plantation should know better.

— Mayor Vi Lyles (@CLTMayor) June 12, 2021

A statement issued by the Latta Plantation Site Manager Ian Campbell was released on the plantation's website Saturday. He wrote: "The Confederacy will never be glorified, white supremacy will never be glorified, plantation owners, white refugees or overseers will never be glorified. What will be commemorated is the story of our people who overcame being snatched from their loved ones in Mother Africa and taken to a new and strange land."

"The event was canceled due to security concerns for volunteers and staff. The media's corps of yellow journalists had a perfect opportunity to educate, however, they chose to whip the public into a frenzy, it worked," he added.

He said that he received a phone call from Lyles over the event, but claimed that he has never seen her "visit our site or any other influential and prominent government officials. The same applies to NPR, WBTV, the Charlotte observer et al. This applies to some of those citizens in the community that have been offended."

In conclusion, Campbell stated: "Your opinions and concerns have been respectfully noted. However, after reading this, many of you will still be offended, some will be supportive, thank you."

Newsweek reached out to Historic Latta Plantation for additional comment.

Out buildings at the Latta Plantation in
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 07: Out buildings at the Latta Plantation in Huntersville, North Carolina. The plantation is receiving backlash after a seemingly racist event set to take place on Juneteenth was canceled. Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images