The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family's Journey to Freedom (Google eBook)
When John F. Baker Jr. was in the seventh grade, he saw a photograph of four former slaves in his social studies textbook. When he learned that two of them were his grandmother's grandparents, he began the lifelong research project that would become The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation, the fruit of more than thirty years of archival and field research and DNA testing spanning 250 years.
A descendant of Wessyngton slaves, Baker has written the most accessible and exciting work of African American history since Roots. He has not only written his own family's story but included the history of hundreds of slaves and their descendants now numbering in the thousands throughout the United States. More than one hundred rare photographs and portraits of African Americans who were slaves on the plantation bring this compelling American history to life.
Founded in 1796 by Joseph Washington, a distant cousin of America's fi rst president, Wessyngton Plantation covered 15,000 acres and held 274 slaves, whose labor made it the largest tobacco plantation in America. Atypically, the Washingtons sold only two slaves, so the slave families remained intact for generations. Many of their descendants still reside in the area surrounding the plantation. The Washington family owned the plantation until 1983; their family papers, housed at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, include birth registers from 1795 to 1860, letters, diaries, and more. Baker also conducted dozens of interviews -- three of his subjects were more than one hundred years old -- and discovered caches of historic photographs and paintings.
A groundbreaking work of history and a deeply personal journey of discovery, The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation is an uplifting story of survival and family that gives fresh insight into the institution of slavery and its ongoing legacy today.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Indeed this is some fine work, what I call a book of many historical books condensed and framed around descendants of Washington and Wessyngton. WoW! Moreso than the collection of historical accounts and stats, and the abundance of photos to support the work (astounding!), but it is the presentation that wins this work over. It's as if, and I'm almost sure the author did, painstakingly and meticulously pieced together the research done, letter by letter. I honestly stopped trying to figure out who was related to who; when, where and how...but instead watched how America unfolded clear to present day, right before my eyes. It hardly will take DNA to see the Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation isn't just about them. It's about All of Us! Most times I fear picking up books like this one, thinking I'm going to get the lengthy hog-tied switch, but I took my chances, similar to the way the author was lured by the photo on the cover...to inspect further. I'm glad I did. Mr. Baker presented a truth I can live with, though too, I clearly see now why this part of history is not one many jump up and down to talk, or write about. A Phenomenal Read.
Review: The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family's Journey to FreedomUser Review - Goodreads
This book gave great insights into the lifestyles of the people at Wessyngton Plantation. The Washington s,(related to George Washington,the president) I've learned where keepers of data even down to ...
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