Natchez National Historical Park

Diary of William Johnson: Free Black Businessman (excerpts)

We only got a bit of time to explore the Melrose plantation before they closed for the day.  Rather than take a guided tour of the big house, we explored the exhibits in the slave quarters and barn.

As I read a placard about runaway slaves, a nearby security alarm panel started alerting to a "SLAVE N MOTION". I think this might be a case of a runaway homonym.

Our visit to the Melrose property was the 4th visit within three days to a place that showed the ugly history of slavery in the south. Although this is history that must not be forgotten, and history that still plays a part in society today, slavery exhibits (as well as that contrasting life of the white folks in the "big house") were becoming more depressing than educational. Melrose removed all desire to visit any more plantations on our current roadtrip up the Mississippi River.

Perhaps, our limited after-work tourist time would have been better spent visiting the William Johnson House in downtown Natchez -- also part of the park.  William Johnson was a black businessman -- a free man -- in Natchez, Mississippi, decades before the Civil War. Excerpts from his diary can be read here: .