UC Berkeley African American Studies professor reveals unseen aspects of slavery in new book

July 13, 2023

In his new book In the Shadows of the Big House: Twenty-First-Century Antebellum Slave Cabins and Heritage Tourism in Louisiana (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2023), UC Berkeley African American Studies Professor Stephen Small sheds light on over 60 heritage sites in Louisiana's former slave plantations. Amid debates about Confederate monument removal, Small's work focuses on the less obvious remnants of slavery throughout the region. 

His narrative explores 16 twenty-first century antebellum slave cabins in Natchitoches, La., examining their history from the Civil War to the present. The book delves into the portrayal of slavery and slave cabins in these sites, exploring the influence of ethnicity, gender and the state on these narratives. It exposes processes of social forgetting and remembering, challenging traditional stories and advocating for a more comprehensive understanding of our shared history. In the Shadows of the Big House encourages critical thinking about the stories we accept and the historical sites we visit.