Notes on Slave Gardens


Scholars have long understood that the slave plantation system was the model and motor for the carbon-greedy machine-based factory system that is often cited as an inflection point for the Anthropocene. Nurtured in even the harshest circumstances, slave gardens not only provided crucial human food, but also refuges for biodiverse plants, animals, fungi, and soils. Slave gardens are an underexplored world, especially compared to imperial botanical gardens, for the travels and propagations of myriad critters.
From Note 5 on "Plantationocene"
Donna Haraway "Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin"
in Environmental Humanities, vol. 6, 2015, pp. 159-165

A debate waged among southern plantation owners about the desirability of these gardens. Some argued they encouraged domestic tranquility and tied slaves more securely to the land. Others felt the gardens, and the independence they encouraged, led to discontent and distracted slaves from labor in the fields.
Babbette Block's sculpture
Brookgreen Gardens Lowcountry Trail Sculptures, Murells Inlet, South Carolina
Female Enslaved African Stainless Steel, 8 1/2' high
Male Enslaved African Stainless Steel, 9' high
There is another garden pointing to modern slavery — design by Juliet Sergeant
cultivating a different kind of awareness.

And so for day 1939