Elgin Plantation, Natchez, Miss.
"Why is it significant that we have an understanding of plantation history in the modern era?"
Ruth Ellen, 80: "I will quote the archives from LSU, who made copies of the journals recording plantation life. They wanted this for their department of agriculture and said it was the best documentation of 19th century farm techniques. That's what they were interested in, but I'm interested in reading the diaries to learn what life was really like on a plantation — anywhere in the country. It's hard to imagine it without reading someone's words who lived here. I was not reared on a plantation. I lived in town and my focus was on what was happening in town. I really didn't give much thought on the 1840s until I became curious to learn about the history here."