Viola Davis is coming home for her 55th birthday. The actress wrote on Instagram that she bought the former Saint Matthews, South Carolina plantation where she was born and where her family lived and worked.
"The above is the house where I was born August 11, 1965. It is the birthplace of my story. Today on my 55th year of life....I own it....all of it," Davis wrote, alongside a photo of a small house with a collapsed roof.
"May you live long enough to know why you were born," she added, quoting a Cherokee blessing.
The land, which was known as Singleton Plantation, was where Davis' grandparents also lived and worked. Davis told People she only learned more about the plantation's history and the enslaved people who had lived there after she grew up.
"I mean, I went back to visit briefly but still not aware of the history. I think I read one slave narrative of someone who was on that plantation, which was horrific," Davis said. "One hundred sixty 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. 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."
Davis has been a trailblazer in Hollywood, becoming the first Black woman to win an Emmy for best lead actress in 2015.