Posts Tagged ‘Roots’
The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation reviewed in Nashville City Paper by Todd Dills. Click here to see review.
Plantation owners used records such as slave bills of sales, birth registers, and many other documents to keep an accurate count of their slaves’ births, deaths, and their production on plantations and farms. These documents are invaluable in tracing African American genealogy.
The document above is a list of enslaved African American men and boys on Wessyngton Plantation in 1856 owned by George A. Washington. Slave owners had to pay taxes on their slaves from age twelve to fifty, so the list only identifies those in that age range who were a part of the plantation labor force. Many of the individuals are listed with surnames: Davis, Fairfield, Gardner, Holman, Lewis, Price, Smith, Terry, Vanhook, White and Woodard. The use of these surnames made it possible to locate them and their previous slave owners. Many of them were also found on the 1870 U. S. Census living on or near Wessyngton Plantation.
In 1964, the Washington family deposited all their family papers and plantation records in the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville. Hundreds of these documents shed light on the lives of hundreds of African Americans enslaved there.
My half-hour television interview with John Seigenthaler Sr, A Word on Words, is available as a free downloadable Podcast.
Mr. Seigenthaler asked me many in-depth thought-provoking questions. At the end, he said, “I learned more from your book than I learned from reading my friend Alex Haley’s book called Roots.” I hope you enjoy the interview. Leave a comment with your reaction.
On March 31st I was honored to have Tuwanda Coleman interview me for the Plus Side of Nashville about the release of my book The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family’s Journey to Freedom. I really enjoyed being on the show. Mrs. Coleman asked how my research started more than thirty years ago, how I got a book deal with Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster and my future plans.
I invite you to listen to an indepth interview: The African American Literary Review Presents an Evening With John F. Baker Jr. with host Tracey Ricks Foster.
I invite you to watch a short video in which I describe my research: