The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family's Journey to Freedom (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Feb 3, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages
6 Reviews
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.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
3
4 stars
2
3 stars
1
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family's Journey to Freedom

User Review  - Dwainia Tullis - 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 ... Read full review

Review: The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family's Journey to Freedom

User Review  - Bettina Cohen - Goodreads

A little slow-going, because I became so engrossed with the author's research, especially into family records, yet this is absolutely a book I'd recommend to American history buffs. Fascinating, and told without embellishment, with photos and other illustrations that help bring it to life. Read full review

Related books

Contents

The Photo in My Textbook
1
Thats Washington Where Your People Came From
9
We Walked Every Step of the Way from Virginia to Tennessee
33
We Built That Big House Brick by Brick
49
By the Sweat of Their Brows The Largest Tobacco Plantation in America
67
It Takes a Whole Village
88
Working from Cant to Cant
108
I Couldnt Hear Nobody Pray
127
In Their Own Words
252
The Church in the Hollow
267
Digging for the Truth
286
Generations in Transition
297
Back Through the Centuries with DNA
346
To Honor Our Ancestors
353
Acknowledgments
359
Notes
363

Wessyngton Rebels
148
Follow the North Star
161
On the Road to Freedom Wessyngton Under Siege
179
No Longer Under Washington Control
200
August the 8th
224
Selected Bibliography of Primary Sources
385
Selected Bibliography
391
Illustration Credits
393
Index
399
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

For thirty years John Baker has been gathering information about the Wessyngton Plantation after discovering that his grandmother's paternal grandparents, Emanuel and Henny Washington had been slaves there. He has dedicated his work to tracing African American genealogy.

Bibliographic information