Media praise for John Baker’s The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation.
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The exhibit Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville which opened from February 11th and ran through August 31st, 2014, had nearly 70,000 visitors! The exhibit will travel throughout the state until 2017.
The documentary Wessyngton Plantation: A Family’s Road to Freedom has been watched by several hundred thousand viewers across the country. In October 2015 the documentary received an award from the National Educational Telecommunications Association for best documentary. On November 19th it was nominated for the 30th Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy Award! Results will be announced in February.
The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation was nominated for the Oprah Book club selection in the Historical Books genre in 2010.
Simon & Schuster submitted The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation for the National Book award in nonfiction.
Simon & Schuster submitted The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation for the Pulitzer Prize in letters.
“This is a solid document of human caring, historic wisdom and perseverance of several African American families pressed to the limit and surviving with all of the lessons of life intact.” --Publishers Weekly
“Fascinating book…. [A] moving story.” --Library Journal
“A sweeping look at nearly 200 years on a Southern plantation, told by a descendant…Riveting, and the importance of Baker’s research can’t be overstated…Enriching, deeply personal history.” --Kirkus Reviews
“Outstanding book” – On with Leon, Sirius Radio XM
“I learned more from your book than I learned from reading my friend Alex Haley’s book called Roots.” -- John Seigenthaler Sr., A Word on Words Television Show
“An amazing view into history that resonates” –Amazon.com (24 5-Star Reader Reviews)
This well-detailed book about an African American family's ancestry originated when Baker was in seventh grade and saw a photograph of four former slaves in his social studies text, sparking a curiosity that led him to spend more than 30 years researching his relatives. The author, a recipient of a national award from the American Association for State and Local History, also traces the story of Joseph Washington, owner of the Wessyngton Plantation in Tennessee and a distant cousin of the first American president, working the 274 slaves to build the largest tobacco concern in the nation. Although the stories of the Washingtons, Terrys and Cheathams are not presented with dramatic flair, Baker captures the arduous daily grind of life in slavery and later Jim Crow with a steely precision, all because he puts a human face on every birth, death and struggle. Baker should be truly commended for his tenacity in interviewing and acquiring letters, diaries and birth records. This is a solid document of human caring, historic wisdom and perseverance of several African American families pressed to the limit and surviving with all of the lessons of life intact.
Bookshelf: [B]egan when the author, then only in the seventh grade... His fascination...set the author on a 30-year quest...resulting in this book chronicling 10 generations of African Americans, their relationships with one another and their owners.
Culture, Black History Month Special. Check out these five new titles that reveal untold stories of our past.
History: When Baker was in a seventh grade social studies class... This discovery sparked a lifelong interest in genealogy, culminating in this fascinating book....Historians will find this book useful for its examination of rural life in the 19th-century South, and general readers will find a moving story of a family achieving freedom. Recommended for all libraries. Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ., Parkersburg