Family traces history of Tennessee's ...

Family traces history of Tennessee's wealthiest black slave owner

There are 38 comments on the WBIR Knoxville story from Feb 22, 2007, titled Family traces history of Tennessee's wealthiest black slave owner. In it, WBIR Knoxville reports that:

Like many wealthy landowners of the pre-Civil War South, Sherrod Bryant owned slaves.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WBIR Knoxville.

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Girl-next-door

Union Star, KY

#1 Feb 22, 2007
This sounds like the making of a great movie. Very interesting.
Dave L

Columbia, MO

#2 Feb 22, 2007
THis doesnt surprise me but I want to thank WBIR for the story! I never would have LEARNED this about black slave owners in my school!
Charles

United States

#3 Feb 22, 2007
Slavery was, and is, an evil institution, but isn't it interesting how different the views are between
a black man and a white man owning slaves? White men are villianized, but it was "necessary" for a wealthy black man to own fellow humans ?! That is the heighth of hypocricy.
cathy weston-mims

United States

#4 Feb 23, 2007
This is great-I never knew a black person had slaves-I hope he was a kind slave master
John Doe

Urbana, IL

#5 Feb 28, 2007
The vast majority of economic oppression has to do with capital (obviously). Whites exploit whites, blacks exploit blacks, white business owners exploit black and white employees, and the black business owner profits from the sweat of his white and black workers. Are we really that surprised that black land-owners owned slaves?
Justin Bryant

Rochester, NY

#6 Mar 5, 2007
WEll as being of bryant family liniage i would like to find out more about the census records that carl has found. I am very intrested in this article.
grm

Franklin, TN

#7 Apr 28, 2008
no clue what everyone is talking about!!!!

Since: Mar 08

Charleston, TN

#8 May 2, 2008
My Great Grandfather owned slaves and when the time came to set them free they simply refused to leave.

As the story is told he bought land in Alabama and moved his people there.

Today there are Blacks in Alabama that carry the unusual famly last name I wonder if their Greatgrand parents once walked my yard?

Since: Apr 07

Phillyburbs

#9 May 8, 2008
This was a very interesting story. Although, I learned many years ago that there were free blacks who owned black slaves.

Since: Mar 08

Knoxville, TN

#10 May 9, 2008
Just because an individual has sub-Saharan African ancestor does not make him or her "Black" in any country but the US in the last 200 years. The fact is that there is a high likelihood that Sherrod Bryant was not considered to be "Black" by his friends, neighbors, contemporaries & peers. Money had a way of lightening one's complexion.

Americans changed their concept of “race” many times. Eston Hemings, Thomas Jefferson’s son, was socially accepted as a White Virginian because he looked European. Biracial planters in antebellum South Carolina assimilated into White society because they were rich. Intermarried couples were acquitted despite the laws because some courts ruled that anyone one with less than one-fourth African ancestry was White, while others ruled that Italians were Colored. Dozens of nineteenth-century American families struggled to come to grips with notions of “racial” identity as the color line shifted and hardened into its present form.

The one-drop rule was invented in the North during the Nat Turner panic. It was resisted by Louisiana Creoles, Florida Hispanics, and the maroon (triracial-e.g.-Melungeon, Lumbee, Brass Ankles) communities of the Southeast. It triumphed during Jim Crow as a means of keeping Whites in line by banishing to Blackness any White family who dared to establish friendly relations with Blacks.

“Black blood” is apparently so very strong that a preponderance of “White blood” cannot ever overcome it, no matter its’ degree.
Ask yourself this: why is it that the USA is the ONLY country in the world where a white woman can give birth to a “Black” baby (Halle Berry, Barak Obama), yet a “Black” woman cannot ever birth a “white” baby.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Sevierville, TN

#11 May 9, 2008
9th Generation Tennessean wrote:
Just because an individual has sub-Saharan African ancestor does not make him or her "Black" in any country but the US in the last 200 years. The fact is that there is a high likelihood that Sherrod Bryant was not considered to be "Black" by his friends, neighbors, contemporaries & peers. Money had a way of lightening one's complexion.
Americans changed their concept of “race” many times. Eston Hemings, Thomas Jefferson’s son, was socially accepted as a White Virginian because he looked European. Biracial planters in antebellum South Carolina assimilated into White society because they were rich. Intermarried couples were acquitted despite the laws because some courts ruled that anyone one with less than one-fourth African ancestry was White, while others ruled that Italians were Colored. Dozens of nineteenth-century American families struggled to come to grips with notions of “racial” identity as the color line shifted and hardened into its present form.
The one-drop rule was invented in the North during the Nat Turner panic. It was resisted by Louisiana Creoles, Florida Hispanics, and the maroon (triracial-e.g.-Melungeon, Lumbee, Brass Ankles) communities of the Southeast. It triumphed during Jim Crow as a means of keeping Whites in line by banishing to Blackness any White family who dared to establish friendly relations with Blacks.
“Black blood” is apparently so very strong that a preponderance of “White blood” cannot ever overcome it, no matter its’ degree.
Ask yourself this: why is it that the USA is the ONLY country in the world where a white woman can give birth to a “Black” baby (Halle Berry, Barak Obama), yet a “Black” woman cannot ever birth a “white” baby.
Thanks for the excellent post. It points out that race is a social construct that has no real basis in biology and, as such, ideas about race are fluid--they change with the times. Let's hope they change for the better or melt way enirely in the course of this century.

Since: Apr 07

Phillyburbs

#12 May 10, 2008
9th Generation Tennessean wrote:
Just because an individual has sub-Saharan African ancestor does not make him or her "Black" in any country but the US in the last 200 years. The fact is that there is a high likelihood that Sherrod Bryant was not considered to be "Black" by his friends, neighbors, contemporaries & peers. Money had a way of lightening one's complexion.
Americans changed their concept of “race” many times. Eston Hemings, Thomas Jefferson’s son, was socially accepted as a White Virginian because he looked European. Biracial planters in antebellum South Carolina assimilated into White society because they were rich. Intermarried couples were acquitted despite the laws because some courts ruled that anyone one with less than one-fourth African ancestry was White, while others ruled that Italians were Colored. Dozens of nineteenth-century American families struggled to come to grips with notions of “racial” identity as the color line shifted and hardened into its present form.
The one-drop rule was invented in the North during the Nat Turner panic. It was resisted by Louisiana Creoles, Florida Hispanics, and the maroon (triracial-e.g.-Melungeon, Lumbee, Brass Ankles) communities of the Southeast. It triumphed during Jim Crow as a means of keeping Whites in line by banishing to Blackness any White family who dared to establish friendly relations with Blacks.
“Black blood” is apparently so very strong that a preponderance of “White blood” cannot ever overcome it, no matter its’ degree.
Ask yourself this: why is it that the USA is the ONLY country in the world where a white woman can give birth to a “Black” baby (Halle Berry, Barak Obama), yet a “Black” woman cannot ever birth a “white” baby.
Interesting post...
CajunCornbread

Lewisburg, TN

#13 May 10, 2008
Jesus had black relatives,too.
Carl

Nashville, TN

#14 May 12, 2008
Justin Bryant wrote:
WEll as being of bryant family liniage i would like to find out more about the census records that carl has found. I am very intrested in this article.
Justin the first census that you will find
Sherad,Sherrod Bryant is in Davidson County, Tennessee.I would love to talk you. My email is:[email protected],
a3do

Nashville, TN

#15 Jan 14, 2009
Justin Bryant wrote:
WEll as being of bryant family liniage i would like to find out more about the census records that carl has found. I am very intrested in this article.
........ I am Carl, would love to talk to anyone that is a descendant of Sherrod or has any information on the Bryants
a3do

Nashville, TN

#16 Jan 14, 2009
Justin you and contact me directly...email [email protected]
parthelia work

Overland Park, KS

#17 Feb 8, 2009
she was with the 'work' family until she died.
she lived in iowa , missouri
parthelia work

Overland Park, KS

#18 Feb 8, 2009
she was with the work family all her life
parthelia work

Overland Park, KS

#19 Feb 8, 2009
I AM THE GR-GRAND DAUGHTER OF ELIZABETH WORK WARREN LANE.PARTHELIA IS IN THE CENCUS UNTIL 1870 AS A SLAVE. AFTER THAT SHE IS LISTED AS A COMPANION OF BERTRULLY WORK. MY GR GR GRANDMOTHER.
FAMILY ORAL HISTORY SAYS PARTHELIA WAS ELIZABETH'S
"MAMMY" I WOULD LOVE TO FIND PICTURES OF ALL THESE PEOPLE. ALL EXCEPT ELIZABETH IS BURIED IN HAMBURG, IOWA IN FREMONT COUNTY
.
Hall

Jasper, IN

#20 May 7, 2009
I believe slavery by anyone is criminal......and really slavery by a black man is no surprise because many slaves were sold into slavery by blacks.....but i dont understand how someone can be proud that their ancestor was a black slave owner..... just as white slave owners are frowned upon so are black slave owners.

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