The prism through which the history of slavery is generally presented throughout the Caribbean rarely looks like this. The stately, centuries-old plantation homes and whimsical windmills you normally see certainly tell part of the tale, albeit with more than a slight tinge of sugarcoating I often find problematic.
Could there ever really be anything romantic about a period when people were ripped from their homes, bought and sold like any common commodity, and forced to live and work in subhuman conditions?
The answer, of course, is no.
This is why I so appreciate the structure pictured above.
There’s no storybook pretense here. No wistful sense of any so-called “good old days.”
This is the old slave house on the Shillingford Estate in Dominica, home to the Macoucherie Rum Distillery, presented just as it’s always stood for more than 250 years.
Raw, decrepit, and as unfit for habitation as it no doubt always has been, it’s a stark reminder of real vagaries of slavery. Vagaries that to me always bear remembering…