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Plantation plans memorial to slaves
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The Board of Trustees of LeConte-Woodmanston Rice Plantation & Botanical Gardens near Riceboro has announced its intention to create a slave memorial at its Liberty County site.
The Slave Walk, a brick path that will wind through the reclaimed plantation, will bear names of 18th and 19th century Liberty County slaves.
According to Jim and Pat Bacote, founders of the nearby Geechee Kunda Cultural Arts Center and Museum, “Liberty County is the center of African culture in America.”
Working in concert with Geechee Kunda and with other historic sites in the area, LeConte-Woodmanston hopes to present a complete picture of the plantation story and the era of enslavement as well as the rich cultural heritage of the first African Americans.
Part of the project will be the collecting of oral histories “before another generation passes” project director Mary Beth Evans said. “We tend to think of slavery in the abstract, but these were real people, with names and faces and family. Walking in these very footsteps can be quite moving.”
The Slave Walk will be in a style similar to memorials created with donor bricks but will be funded with grant money.
The board will be seeking financial and community support for the memorial and for the completion of the LeConte-Woodmanston master plan that was commissioned in 1981 when the site was owned by the Garden Club of Georgia.
LeConte-Woodmanston was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1973. A 64-acre site, carved out of the original 3,300-acre plantation, features a botanical garden and a black swamp nature trail.
Plans include the reconstruction of historic, scientific and ornamental aspects of the original self-sustaining plantation that kept about 200 slaves for its rice production from the 1770’s until the Civil War.
The gardens were first established and tended by Louis LeConte and recognized throughout America and in Europe in the early 1800s. His sons, Joseph and John, made names for themselves on the west coast and in the scientific world.
The LeConte Plantation will host an open house Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in conjunction with the first Geechee Rice Fest.
Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about the memorial project.
For more information, call  Mary Beth Evans at (912) 658-4691 or via email at
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