Bulger's Beat: Exhibit tells stories of Robertson Co. plantation - WSMV Channel 4

Bulger's Beat: Exhibit tells stories of Robertson County plantation

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A ground-breaking exhibit now at the Tennessee State Museum tells the stories of slaves and slaveholders who lived on a Robertson County plantation.

It's not easy to tell the story of slavery with faces and names because there just isn't a lot of personal information available.

But through great research, photos and the record keeping of slave descendants, this exhibit brings to life the story of the otherwise largely forgotten people.

It is the faces that hold the power in the story of the slaves and slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation. Many of the photos were taken of former slaves just years after gaining freedom.

"This is a show that is seen through the eyes of the man, the woman, the child that was left alone at 10 years old never to know her mother or father, to go on and live her whole life in slavery and to die a slave. It is seeing slavery through the eyes of the slave," said Lois Riggins-Ezzell, executive director of the Tennessee State Museum.

The images also show the never-ending hope and resilience of slaves.

"They found a place to be somebody even though no place was given to them. This rejoices those human beings that lived enslaved because they found a way to rise above slavery while in it," Riggins-Ezzell said.

All of it happened, in this case, on a 13,000-acre plantation in Robertson County, where 274 slaves produced 250,000 pounds of tobacco every year, making the Wessyngton Plantation among the most productive in the country.

For more information on the exhibit, which runs through Aug. 31, visit http://www.tnmuseum.org.

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