Black Celebrities

Viola Davis Talks About How She Was Birthed On A Former Slave Plantation

By Kacie Whaley

Viola Davis is known as one of the best actresses in Hollywood. She’s had great success with her ABC show “How to Get Away with Murder” and most recently, she’s starring as Amanda Waller in the comic-based film, “Suicide Squad.” But, according to an interview Davis did with People magazine, she had a shockingly humble upbringing before all the fame.

Davis had spent the beginning of her life on a small farm owned by her grandmother in St. Matthews, South Carolina. The property was once a plantation that held slaves, but she didn’t learn of its dark history until later in her life.

“I wasn’t on it long, because I was the fifth child, and so we moved soon after I was born,” the 50-year-old said in the interview.

“I went back to visit it, 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, whose grandfather worked as a sharecropper, described her grandmother’s home as a “one room shack.”

“[There was] no running water. No bathroom. It’s just an outhouse,” Davis said.

Even though the farm held a gloomy past, Davis said her family made the best of what little they had while there.

“But 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,” the actress continued. “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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