Viola Davis celebrated her 55th birthday by making one of the most powerful purchases in her life: She bought Singleton Plantation, a former plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina and the place where she was born. She shared a photo on her Instagram, writing, “The above is the house where I was born August 11, 1965. It is the birthplace of my story. Today on my 55th year of life….I own it….all of it.”
She added, “‘May you live long enough to know why you were born.’ -Cherokee Birth Blessing.”
Davis spoke to People’s The Jess Cagle Interview show in 2016 about how she grew up unaware of the plantation’s grim history.
“I wasn’t on it long, because I was the fifth child, and so we moved soon after I was born,” she started. “I mean, I went back to visit briefly but still not aware of the history. I think I read one slave narrative of someone who was on that plantation, which was horrific. 160 acres of land, and my grandfather was a sharecropper. Most of my uncles and cousins, they’re farmers. That’s the choice that they had. My grandmother’s house was a one room shack. I have a picture of it on my phone because I think it’s a beautiful picture.”
Despite the poor living conditions, Davis said she and her family still found joy living there. “[There was] no running water. No bathroom. It’s just an outhouse,” she said. “But my mom says that the day I was born, all of my aunts and uncles were in the house, she said, everyone was drinking and laughing, and having fun. She said she ate a sardine, mustard, onion, tomato sandwich after I was born.”
“I love that story,” Davis said. “It’s a great story to me. It’s a great story of celebration in the midst of what you would feel is a decimated environment, but you could see the joy and the life that can come out of that, because it’s not always about things, you know.”
From: ELLE US
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