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Published on Jul 11, 2014
In 1796, Joseph Washington, a distant relative of our first president, purchased sixty acres in Middle Tennessee for tobacco farming. Eventually covering 13,000 acres, Wessyngton Plantation would thrive off the blood, sweat and tears of hundreds of African Americans. Unlike other plantations only two slaves were ever sold from Wessyngton, resulting in several generations of enslaved family members living and laboring together.
As a child, Author John F. Baker Jr. was mysteriously drawn to a photo of Robertson County slaves in his middle school textbook. When his grandmother explained that he was looking at his great-grandparents, he became obsessed with their story. In 2008 his book "The Washington's of Wessyngton Plantation" was released. The culmination of more than thirty years of research, it details the lives of hundreds of his family members. Baker spent decades combing through countless family and state archives, researching birth and death records, and conducting dozens of interviews with relatives and historians. Wessyngton Plantation: A Family's Road to Freedom brings to life this deeply moving story of pain and perseverance.