Kennedy American Pageant 12e -
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Textbook Site for:
The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Twelfth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Examining the Evidence Activites
Chapter 16: The South and the Slavery Controversy, 1793-1860

Examining Related Evidence: Bellegrove Plantation, Donaldsville, Louisiana, Built 1857.
This internet activity is based on the Examining the Evidence feature found on page 361 of The American Pageant, Twelfth Edition. Or you can view the feature here.

This map of the Bellegrove plantation is very useful for helping historians understand the layout of a plantation. Its usefulness would be enhanced if the historian could visualize what the buildings on the map looked like. To investigate this further go to the Schomburg image collection at the New York Public Library website and examine the image "Pictures of the South - African-American Quarters on Jefferson Davisís Plantation" image located there.

Enter the site by clicking on the lower right-hand corner of the page; then select the category "Slavery" under the drop-down menu. Click on Image 29, "Pictures of the SouthóAfrican-American Quarters on Jefferson Davisís Plantation", Bellegrove and Davisís plantation were both located near the Mississippi River and were probably not too far apart. Compare the image to the map.

  1. Identify a few similarities and differences between the layouts of Bellegrove and Davisís plantation?
  2. What was the purpose of the long building in the back of the image?
  3. Who is the person on horseback?
  4. What clues can you find indicating something about the living conditions in the cabins?

    Now view a photo of a typical slave cabin at another plantation in Mississippi by going to the University of North Carolinaís Documenting the American South website. This photograph is from Belle Kearneyís memoir of growing up on a plantation in Mississippi.
  5. How does this image compare to the cabins in the image from the Davis plantation?
  6. Why does the cabin seem to be in disrepair?