Yesterday, Viola Davis, world-renowned actress and recent recipient of viral internet fame, celebrated her 55th birthday. We are truly grateful to be alive during this time in which she shares her gifts with us common folk. Davis is also grateful. She’s grateful to earn the type of living that allows her to go back to the house where she was born and buy it. That house, located in St. Matthews, South Carolina, used to be a plantation house. It was a place where someone like Viola Davis would have been forced to work the land until her hands bled and if she didn’t work her enough, her back would bleed.
Today, Davis took to Instagram to share a photo of the house along with a short-yet-poignant message…
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.
“May you live long enough to know why you were born.”
-Cherokee Birth Blessing-
In 2016 Davis spoke to Entertainment Weekly about this very same house and her memories of it.
“I wasn’t on it long, because I was the fifth child, and so we moved soon after I was born,” she said during the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview. “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. 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. 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.”
To put a cherry on top of her momentous birthday, Viola went on to celebrate Kamala Harris’ selection as Joe Biden’s Vice President running mate.
Helluva birthday present.