Title: The big house as home: roots tourism and slavery in the USA
Authors: Jodi Skipper; Suzanne Renee Davidson
Addresses: Sociology and Anthropology, The University of Mississippi, 510 Lamar Hall, University, Mississippi, USA ' Sociology and Anthropology, The University of Mississippi, 510 Lamar Hall, University, Mississippi, USA
Abstract: The dominant discourse preferences the experiences of African Americans who take trips to sites linked to slavery outside of the USA. This paper expands research on roots tourism, by centring the experiences of those who travel to slavery-related sites in the USA. Documenting the case of the Behind the Big House Tour as a response to the Annual Pilgrimage Tour of Historic Homes and Churches in Holly Springs, Mississippi, this study examines evidence for African diasporic roots tourists who acknowledge sites at which their ancestors were enslaved as home sites. Results suggest that this level of acceptance occurs when African Americans come to feel a sense of belonging. The study identifies two general conditions needed to facilitate this process: access to slavery-related sites encouraged by historic site owners or managers and reunion with enslaved ancestors and descendants of those who historically lived and worked at slavery-related sites.
Keywords: pilgrimage; diaspora tourism; personal heritage tourism; dissonant heritage; contested sites; legacy tourism; roots tourism; sites of memory; identity; race relations; African Americans; USA.
International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2018 Vol.6 No.4, pp.390 - 410
Received: 24 Nov 2016
Accepted: 06 Sep 2017
Published online: 27 Nov 2018 *