Slave Descendant now on Plantation Board of Directors

Today’s Tennessean has an interesting story on one of the newer board members of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. Like many board members of such properties, Luvenia Butler has longtime family ties to the state and the city. Unlike her colleagues on the board, however, Ms. Butler is the descendant of slaves who belonged to the owners of Belle Meade.

This is extraordinary. Plantations that depend on tourism revenue have been making progress in coming to terms with the fact that their fortunes were built on human bondage, first by acknowledging that slavery took place, second by discussing it on tours and in exhibits, and finally by identifying and restoring slave quarters. To my knowledge, however, this is a first.

You can read more on Belle Meade here.


4 Responses to Slave Descendant now on Plantation Board of Directors

  1. John Maass says:

    A very interesting piece indeed!

  2. Carl L. Harding says:

    To whom it may concern:

    My name is Carl L. Harding and I have reason to believe that I am a descendant of people who were affiliated with the Belle Mead Plantation. I believe my Great grand Father Boss Harding was related to Will Harding (a run away slave) or THE WILLIAM HARDING himself. I am trying to verify this, hopefully someone there could help me concerning this matter. Perhaps there is a list of slave names on the Plantation or other documents you could send me.

    Respectfully yours

    Carl L. Harding Msgt USAF Ret

  3. Michelle says:

    I am looking for information about my great-grandmother. Her name was Amanda Harding, and from what I know she was 16 yrs old in 1913 when she gave birth to my grandmother ( Helen Elizabeth Harding )in Buffalo, NY. My grandmother’s birth certificate says that Amanda Harding was born in New Orleans, LA. It lists her race as “colored”. I don’t know anything else about her. I would love to find out more information on her. On a side note; my grandmother’s birth father’s name is George Blithe, the was 30 at the time of her birth in 1913, and my grandmother was put up for adoption. She was adopted by a family with the last name Wood, which then changed her last name. She married, and changed her name to Bottita as an adult. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please email me at

    Best regards,

  4. I am still trying to get in contact with the above poster, Carl Harding….

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