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Belle Meade Plantation
The mansion and its grounds tell the story of the plight of African Americans from slavery to freedom. It was here that the original owner boarded horses for the wealthy and neighbors such as President Andrew Jackson, and transformed the property into a world-renowned Thoroughbred stud farm and nursery. In addition to the mansion, there was a numerous other outbuildings including slave cabins.
Slave Life at the Hermitage
The Home of President Andrew Jackson began as a two-story farmhouse when Jackson purchased the property in 1804. The Hermitage was a 1,000 acre, self-sustaining plantation that relied completely on the labor of enslaved African American men, women, and children. They performed the hard labor that produced The Hermitage’s cash crop, cotton. The more land Andrew Jackson accrued, the more slaves he procured to work it. Thus, the Jackson family’s survival was made possible by the profit garnered from the crops worked by the enslaved on a daily basis.
It is known for broadcasting the famous Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to about 1974, and hosting other talents such as the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Booker T. Washington actually gave a lecture here in 1902. DeFord Bailey (December 14, 1899 – July 2, 1982) was an American country music and blues star from the 1920s until 1941. He was the first performer to be introduced on the Ryman and the first African-American performer on the show. He played several instruments but is best known for his harmonica tunes.
The McLemore House Museum
The McLemore House Museum is managed by the African-American Heritage Society, a non-profit organization whose mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret artifacts pertaining to Williamson County African American culture and increase understanding and appreciation of our heritage for future generations.
The 1799 home of Judge John Overton. Historic sites have an obligation to share their knowledge of slavery and its realities, and fortunately, staff at Historic Travellers Rest has access to better documentation about the enslaved population than most sites. That documentation, along with artifacts, both reproduction and historic, allowed them to present the slaves of Travellers Rest as real people with names, ages, family groupings, skills and descendants. Slaves were more than the sum of their monetary value. They were the people who built a farm and made significant contributions to their communities.
Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate. William Edmondson was a prolific sculptor in the 1930s and 1940s. He began by making gravestones but quickly expanded his practice to include stand-alone works that he summoned from stone – angels, boxers, horses, church ladies, birds and rams. In histories of folk art, Edmondson holds forefather status. He is best known as the first black artist to have a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Cheekwood is very honored to have such a large collection of Edmondson’s work with 22 works.