Thursday, July 18, 2013

Black Slaveowner / Sherrod Bryant

  Believe it or not there were over 5,000 black slave owners in the United States during the antebellum period. Their reasons for owning slaves were varied but many if not most owned them for the same reason that white people owned them. Economic advantage. However there were some that had slaves so as to protect them from white slave owners. Somewhat like black Oscar Schindler's. It has been claimed that most black slave owners were mulatto or bi-racial. Mulatto was an antebellum term. They were usually the children of white slave owners. The largest and wealthiest black slave owner in Tennessee was Sherrod Bryant. It is safe to say that most blacks and whites are not aware of this. Bryant’s land holdings were primarily in two locations, where the Schermerhorn Symphony Center is today in Davidson County and in Rutherford and Wilson Counties in what is now Long Hunter State Park.

  According to Dan Whittle, president of Friends of Long Hunter, “Sherrod Bryant was born in 1781 in Virginia, and grew up in Granville County, N.C. In 1806, after receiving official documents certifying his freedom, Bryant came to Middle Tennessee where he began purchasing large tracts of farm land, including 300 acres along the McCrory Creek in the historic Donelson region of Davidson County. In 1830, his holdings included a downtown Nashville building lot purchased from Thomas L. Loving. His plantation-owning era came in 1844-45 when he bought 300 acres in Rutherford County from Thomas and Henry Lantern. The property is known today as "Bryant's Grove." Sherrod Bryant died in 1854 and is buried in the family cemetery near Donelson and the inscription on his marker reads, "Here rests from his labors Sherrod Bryant, whose honesty, piety and industry were examples".

1 comment:

  1. A great early American success story. I find it disheartening that he will not be remembered in the AA museum in Washington D.C.. I don't believe Sherrod or the other Black businessmen of the era will ever fit the narrative of hate that enables a contemporary political party.