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Wed Mar 3, 2021, 08:46 PM

Chatelain: Even in Omaha, the word 'plantation' carries 400 years of 'dehumanization'


By Dirk Chatelain

History is not a simple game.

In 1898, the same year that James Naismith introduced basketball to the University of Kansas, the city of Omaha hosted the biggest event in its history. The Trans-Mississippi Exposition resembled a World’s Fair and attracted 2.6 million tourists over five months.

The 180-acre expo featured thousands of exhibits highlighting exotic places. Italy. Egypt. The Middle East. The American West. One of the most popular displays featured a re-enactment of Southern life before the Civil War, with dozens of African-Americans working as props. The exhibit manager, according to The World-Herald, even included “five vicious bloodhounds used in antebellum days to pursue escaping slaves.”

“All day and all night,” the newspaper reported in 1898, “the theater was packed with people who enjoyed the best negro show ever seen this side of the Mason and Dixon line.”

FULL story: https://omaha.com/sports/college/creighton/chatelain-even-in-omaha-the-word-plantation-carries-400-years-of-dehumanization/article_52b2e154-7c74-11eb-a4bd-9f6435b07d6f.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1



Two miles from today's Creighton University in 1898, Omaha held an exposition where one of the most popular displays featured a re-enactment of Southern life before the Civil War, with dozens of African-Americans working as props. The name of that exhibit? “The Old Plantation.” Now, 123 years later, that loaded word returned to the headlines following Greg McDermott’s locker-room remarks Saturday.

BRENDAN SULLIVAN, THE WORLD-HERAL

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