In November 2021, the Institute for Training Innovation (IEI) held its Fall Superintendent Summit at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.–one of the gorgeous resorts within the U.S.
However as with most of the nation’s iconic landmarks, from The White Home to Harvard College, the legacy of The Greenbrier is instantly tied to the best stain on our nation’s legacy: the enslavement of Black individuals. In the course of the Summit, we invited Toni Ogden and Janice Cooley of the Greenbrier County Historic Society to offer a historic context of our environment.
The unique resort was inbuilt 1858 largely by enslaved individuals, and as late as 1910, when the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway acquired the property, the corporate continued to use Black staff. African American employees members have been anticipated to cater to the whims of white friends within the model of the outdated plantations earlier than returning residence to overwhelming poverty.
Whereas The Greenbrier goes out of its method to welcome all guests immediately, that historical past nonetheless silently lingers all through the grounds, impacting some greater than others primarily based on their identification and lived experiences. An instance of the resort’s legacy could possibly be noticed within the sports activities bar the place a number of portraits of star athletes lined the partitions—all of whom have been white. It’s in all probability the one sports activities bar exterior of Boston that has an image of Larry Chook, however no image of Magic.
A number of convention attendees of colour, myself included, expressed an unease every time we ventured exterior our tightknit group. White attendees, like Doug, my co-facilitator and co-author, could not have been on the receiving finish of the cautious gazes of different resort patrons, however they noticed the phenomenon, which turned a topic of debate amongst the IEI group—each by way of the weekend and in our each day lives as educators.