Airbnb Slave Cabins: Why Was This Even A Thing?

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Airbnb Slave Cabins: Why Was This Even A Thing?

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Outraged sparked last year after an Airbnb host listed an old slave cottage on the popular lodging site. The 1830s slave cabin, which was located at the Belmont Plantation in Mississippi, seemed to be a popular place for visitors due to its “garden view” and comfy amenities. But oddly, the site did not mention the dark history associated with the location.

As NewsOne previously reported, a 2018 profile of the Belmont Plantation notes that 80 enslaved people lived in the tiny two-door cabin dubbed, “The Panther Burn” cottage. It was later used as a medical office for “local farmers.”

A TikTok user named Wyton Yates called out the racist listing

A TikTok video shared by Wynton Yates, a civil rights attorney, captured guests boasting about the cottage’s lush sunset views and the delicious breakfast provided in the main house. Some visitors couldn’t get enough of the history behind the wooden landmark.

Yates criticized Airbnb and the cottage owner, Brad Hauser, for making a mockery of slavery.

“The history of slavery in this country is constantly denied, and now it’s being mocked by being turned into a luxurious vacation spot,” he added in his post.

Well, after enough uproar, the listing was swiftly pulled from Airbnb and scrubbed clean from other booking sites. The company also released a statement apologizing for the inappropriate listing.

“Properties that formerly housed the enslaved have no place on Airbnb. We apologize for any trauma or grief created by the presence of this listing, and others like it, and that we did not act sooner to address this issue,” the company said in a statement. Airbnb also promised to remove other listings that include former slave quarters in the U.S.

The owner apologizes for the cabin and claims slaves weren’t housed inside

Hauser also issued an apology.

“As the new, three-week owner of The Belmont in Greenville, Mississippi, I apologize for the decision to provide our guests a stay at ‘the slave quarters’ behind the 1857 antebellum home that is now a bed and breakfast. I also apologize for insulting African Americans whose ancestors were slaves,” Hauser said in a statement to CNN.

After he brought the property, Hauser claimed he “strongly opposed the previous owner’s decision to market the building as the place where slaves once slept after toiling in the cotton fields in human bondage.” He also alleged that the previous owner did not transfer the rights to online advertising associated with the plantation until after the controversy began.

When he purchased the cottage, Hauser said the owner told him that the cabin wasn’t a slave quarter because the building was not old enough to have housed enslaved people, allegedly.

Renting out a slave cabin for a leisurely stay undermines the painful history that many African American slaves endured through centuries of bondage. Hauser could have very well marketed the cottage into a historical site that may have delved deeper into the history of the slaves who lived inside years ago.

The Slave Dweller Project is a company that does this well. Based in Ladson, South Carolina, the historical organization fights to preserve, maintain and sustain extant slave dwellings and other structures significant to the stories of enslaved Africans. The organization hosts overnight historical stays and tours at various slave quarters around the city to educate people about the legacy of slavery. They also provide consultation and networking support for those interested in preserving an extant slave dwelling.

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