UNIONVILLE, Pa.--Following the lead of Eventing Nation, U.S. Eventing Association has condemned the name Plantation Field as a racial slur, taking political correctness to a new and ridiculous high.
The property along Route 82 in Unionville has been in the ownership of the Plunkett Stewart, Hannum and Walker families for generations, and about 80 years ago, a Boy Scout troop approached the Stewart family, saying it would like to do something to earn a merit badge, and asking if it could plant trees on the property.
Trees were planted in the field and the name Plantation Field was born.
Although not technically disallowing Plantation Field to hold events, refusing to use the name, choosing instead to call it P Field, makes it sound like using the N word, thus forever tying the Stewart, Hannum and Walker families to slavery.
To protect his families' names, Plantation Field owner Cuyler Walker has terminated eventing's lease on the property.
SO NOW, because of a couple of voices on the blog Eventing Nation, USEA and the USEF have caved in to over-the-top political correctness.
Will the name cotton swabs will have to be changed because blacks picked cotton?
Major eventing and driving events are held at Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation.
Will the Webers have to change the name of their property to appease Eventing Nation's political correctness gone overboard?
Beginning in June, Eventing Nation sent a series of letters and emails basically demanding Plantation Filed change its name, never opening a discussion or finding out the background of the name.
Reportedly, originally USEA's board approved the name Plantation Filed but recently caved to Eventing Nation, refusing to use the name in reporting its events.
Feeling that the racial slur that USEA attached to the name is inescapable in the future and unwilling to change a name that has been a proud part of the family for generations, the lease for Eventing was terminated by Cuyler Walker on Monday, Sept. 14.
The Plantation Field International Event, Sept. 17-20, will be the final eventing competition to be held on the property, a very sad event for eventers of every level, as Plantation Field has hosted events of every levels for years.
If all riders got together and had their sponsors to stop advertising on Eventing Nation, perhaps a discussion to allow the name Platation Field could be initiated, thus allowing one of sport's largest supporters to continue.
Olympic medalists Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin are both on the board of directors of Plantation Field.
"It's horrible," said Martin. "So many in the community have gotten behind this event. Plantation Field has donated so much to worthy causes."
One of Plantation Field's beneficiaries is Work to Ride, an inner city group that promotes riding for blacks.
"This is a setback for sports in this region." said Martin. "I hope there is some way to keep this great event going. The name comes from a noble, special reward to a boy scout group."
"We're all devastated," said Dutton. "Cuyler donated the land to Plantation Field eventing. He didn't sign on for this."
"All of this could have been handled differently," said Dutton. "People should have sat down together to discuss it instead of just sending letters and emails."
DENIS GLACCUM, President of Plantation Field Equestrian Events, on Sept. 16 outlined the history of the name and gave the reason for Cuyler's decision, which he backs, to end evening at Plantation Field.
"We are sad to announce today that Cuyler Walker, a PFEE Board member and landowner of Plantation Field, has with great regret cancelled our lease for the property on which the Plantation Field International Three-Day Event is held. This is directly due to the attack on the name “Plantation” by Eventing Nation, an equestrian online news journal.
EN and their editors approached the equestrian media and the United States Eventing Association in June, 2020 to state that they felt the name “Plantation” was insensitive to people of color.
Let me explain the history of this property: in the 1930’s Plunket Stewart, who had purchased land in the early twentieth century, allowed the Boy Scouts to use a section of the property to plant hedges and trees. The dictionary defines the word “Plantation” as “an area in which trees have been planted”. Colonial Pennsylvania considered properties less than 100 acres a farm and properties with more than 100 acres a plantation. There is no reference to race in this definition.
The Unionville area is historically a Quaker community. The Quakers were one of the earliest abolitionist groups and fought against slavery. This area was also part of the underground railroad.
On a personal level, PFEE and the Unionville community have long supported Work to Ride, an organization in Philadelphia created with dedication by Lezlie Hiner, that gives disadvantaged, often minority, youth an opportunity to ride. This program has had impressive results with Kareem Rosser, who is an outstanding polo player, and who has taken lessons from PFEE Board member and Olympians Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton.
The editors of Eventing Nation have aggressively led the campaign against the name Plantation Field. Consequently the USEA and USEF have since notified PFEE that they would not use the word “Plantation” in any media or articles. Plantation Field Equestrian Events, Inc. is the legal name of the Corporation and we will not accept censoring of our First Amendment rights.
I want it clearly stated that as a member of the USEA since 1960 and as a longtime resident of Unionville, I find it incredibly sad that the staff at a publication who do not understand the history of the area are directly causing the end of one of the best and most consistent events in the country.
A major factor in Cuyler’s decision was his feeling that he and his family were being called racist. He will not have his grandparents’ generous support of the Boy Scouts vilified by Eventing Nation and the USEA.
Having spent sixty years supporting the sport of Eventing in every capacity, I am extremely disappointed in the lack of leadership at the National level in dealing with this situation. This event welcomes riders from Elementary to the 4* level at multiple competitions at the local, National and International level each year. It is also local to numerous professional riders including several Olympians. The loss of Plantation Field will be a huge loss to the entire equestrian community."