The other day I received a personal letter inviting me to explore the possibility of moving to The Ford Plantation. Built on the Olmstead designed grounds of Henry Ford’s 1,800 acre Georgia estate, I would become one of only 400 “special” homeowners in “a private gated community and sporting club on the site of antebellum plantations.” Quite the opportunity!
For a growing number of Americans, gated communities represent a way of life that is safe from the dangers that they see lurking everywhere in the un-gated environs of our society. Most such enclaves feature the promise of high-tech surveillance technologies and private police forces trained in “quick response,” but this one is built on a more venerable model of social order: slavery. Since gated communities offer residents the promise of dwelling in an environment where the only dark skins to be found are those of a servant class, why not offer safety-seekers the opportunity to live in the mythic luxury of the O’Hara’s antebellum Georgia plantation “Tara,” immortalized in Gone with the Wind?
It’s the perfect place for would-be cavaliers, and their brood, to imagine themselves living in a bygone world where people (i.e. “darkies”) knew their place. Nine-millimeter pistols and electronic fences have no doubt replaced the whips of erstwhile slave drivers but the scenic camouflage is designed to evoke an earlier time, when a simpler way of life prevailed. To punctuate the authenticity of this nostalgic theme park—along with all the modern amenities—Ford Plantation even sports a “big house” as its centerpiece. One un-named source reports that former slave quarters will be remodeled into boutique shops, to meet residents’ consumption requirements and to ensure their peace of mind.
As an act of civic duty, and to ensure that all people have an equal opportunity to enjoy the privileges of Ol’ Massa, we invite S&S readers to apply to become one of the fortunate four hundred, so they too will all have the chance to move behind the comfort of the gates. Hey, this is America!
Please request application forms from:
Keven R. Shaney, President and CEO
The Ford Plantation
12511 Ford Avenue
Richmond Hill, GA 31324
All photographs are taken from The Ford Plantation brochure. Text is our own.