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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Midway Plantation Slave Cemetery - Brentwood, TN

Midway Plantation Slave Cemetery - Brentwood, TN

Murray Lane is a nice Boulevard in Brentwood. If you've never been to the area, one thing you wouldn't be expecting is a small cemetery surrounded by a small stone gate between the lanes of traffic. The slaves here worked on a plantation named Midway. In the early 90s, the city of Brentwood restored the area to help preserve their memory.

On the marker on the day of my visit was a pile of two dozen roses and a handwritten note, both of which had been there a long time. All that was legible on the note were the words "Thank You." Each grave is marked with a simple unlabeled stone.

On the marker are these words:
The City of Brentwood restored this cemetery to honor the unsung heroes who came from Africa and labored on the Midway Plantation in the 1850's. They survived the horrors of the middle passage; endured the shackles of slavery; raised their children; honored their parents and worked hard to make America a better place. We deeply appreciate their contributions to the world.

Nearby, there;s also a historical marker which reads:
A short distance east of this marker is the site of the Midway Plantation slave cemetery which holds the remains of many of the African Americans who labored on the 1,000 acre plantation in the bonds of slavery during the mid-nineteenth century. By 1850 some 38 slaves toiled on the plantation and through their efforts Lysander McGavock's Midway thrived and boasted of 600 acres of improved farmland and produced cash crops of corn and tobacco.

UPDATE: Recently, I got this message from Ruth D'Eredita:
"Brent thank you for this. Dr. Ouida Collins and I have been helping take care of this cemetery. It's so touching when we find roses, and memorial stones, and notes to our slave ancestors there, as you documented. We are working with the state and city now to further provide for the care of this cemetery, perhaps with a maintenance fund. The cemetery has a wonderful story that we know so many would appreciate, and we think it's a must-stop for all the tourists who enjoy our area."

Midway Plantation Slave Cemetery - Brentwood, TN

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