Viola Davis says her JuVee Productions company is a “walking metaphor of inclusion,” which allows her to become the change she wants to see in the world. (June 24)
Viola Davis is commemorating her birthday by looking back at where she came from.
The Academy Award-winning actress celebrated her 55th birthday on Tuesday by announcing on Instagram that she bought the South Carolina house where she was born, located on a former a slave plantation.
“The above is the house where I was born August 11, 1965,” she wrote, along with a picture of a small wooden house with a broken roof. “It is the birthplace of my story. Today on my 55th year of life….I own it….all of it.”
She capped off her post with a “Cherokee Birth Blessing”: “May you live long enough to know why you were born.”
Davis opened up about the property’s history and her impoverished upbringing in a 2016 interview with People and Entertainment Weekly. The house was located on the site of the Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina, where her grandfather was a sharecropper.
Davis said she and her family moved out of the house soon after her birth.
“I went back to visit briefly, but still not aware of the history,” she said. “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. And 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.”
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The video interview showed the same picture of the property that Davis posted on her birthday Tuesday.
In the 2016 interview, Davis also remembered how the property had “just an outhouse,” with no running water and no bathrooms. Despite their impoverished surroundings, Davis said her family felt great joy on the day of her birth.
“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. 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.”
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