Whether on a plantation house or just a cabin, throughout the South it’s tradition to paint your porch ceiling “haint blue.” Although it’s mostly done for aesthetic reasons now, the tradition originated in the Lowcountry where Gullah people believed the color warded off evil spirits. The Gullah people believe that spirits (known as “haints”) can’t cross water. They used light blue paint to symbolize water as protection. While I can’t attest to the paint’s effectiveness, the shade is calming and adds culture to any Southern home.
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However – maybe the haint blue did its job for Rev. MLK, Jr. Between 1954 and 1960, the above pictured Dexter Parsonage Museum was home to Martin Luther King, Jr. and his young family. The house was bombed two months after Rosa Parks was arrested and the Montgomery Bus Boycott had begun. Only the porch area was destroyed. An estimated 300 people came to his house that evening, and his speech that night is quoted it below. The house has since been restored to that time period, offering tours and informational videos.
"We believe in law and order," King said. "Don't get panicky. Don't do anything panicky at all. Don't get your weapons. He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword. Remember that is what God said. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them, love them and let them know you love them. I did not start this boycott. I was asked by you to serve as your spokesman. I want it to be known through the length and breadth of this land that if I am stopped this movement will not stop. For what we are doing is right. What we are doing is just. And God is with us." – MLK, Jr.
Posts are a combination of my own research, visits, and conversations, plus various information found around the web. I try to provide sources, but if you have specific questions, feel free to ask!