Image: Mableen/Getty Images

Take a tour of the American South, and you’ll no doubt notice a common feature among the traditional houses pushed back from the sidewalks. Interestingly, the vast majority of homeowners have painted their porch ceilings and window shutters a particular shade of blue. And if you were to enquire about the name of this color, you’d probably be told that it’s “haint blue.” Yet the history behind the use of this popular shade is likely more sobering – and horrifying – than you’d have initially imagined.

Image: Busà Photography/Getty Images

Naturally, many people won’t have given much thought to the color of their porch ceilings or shutters. In fact, it’s possible – and even likely in some cases – that people choose haint blue in order to continue family traditions. And this is a factor that strategic design intelligence director Ellen O’Neill from paint producer Benjamin Moore touched upon when she spoke to Today in 2017.

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