Summary of Man unknowingly buys former plantation house where his ancestors were enslaved

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In the video, "Man unknowingly buys former plantation house where his ancestors were enslaved," Fred Miller, a man of African descent, tells the story of how he unknowingly purchased the house where his ancestors were held captive as slaves. He talks about his emotional reaction to learning this history and his plans to open the house to historians.

  • 00:00:00 Fred Miller, a 56-year-old Air Force veteran, was looking to buy property in his Virginia hometown for his large extended family's frequent get-togethers. He had never heard the name Sharswood, and yet this old house would lead him on a journey of discovery, with surprises and revelations that seem both impossible and inevitable all at once. These are the gentle hills of Pittsylvania County, Virginia -- quiet, rural farm country near the North Carolina border that once produced more tobacco than any county in the state. Fred Miller's family is from here, and he grew up close with them. His mother and aunt were two of 11 and he lives in California, but he visits the family often. In May of 2020, Fred Miller purchased the fully-furnished house plus 10 and a half acres of land from a family called the Thompsons, who had owned it since 1917.
  • 00:05:00 The Miller family's ancestors were enslaved in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and Dexter and Sonya Miller had been trying to piece together their family's origins for years. In 2014, they found Sarah Miller's death certificate and learned that she was born in 1868, just three years after the end of the Civil War. Marian Keyes, a beloved former school teacher, remembered Sarah Miller as a force to be reckoned with. Even after watching the TV show "Roots," Fred and Karen Miller did not go and ask their parents about their family's slavery history. They were afraid that they didn't want to talk about it.
  • 00:10:00 Dennis Pogue and Doug Sanford are historic preservationists who were called to investigate a house in Sharswood, Virginia that they suspected was once a slave quarters. They found that the building had been built in the late 1700s as a house for a White family, but was later divided into two separate, single-room slave dwellings. One household here, and another enslaved household over there. Fred and Karen invited Pogue and Sanford to come investigate and they examined, measured, and searched for clues. They showed Pogue and Sanford some of what they found, including hand-made, wrought nails and remnants of the original siding. They worked from noon to dusk and finally gave Karen and Fred their conclusion that the building had a complex history, but part of that history was it was a quarter for enslaved folks. Fred and Karen then bought the slave house from Miller.
  • 00:15:00 After researching his family history, Dexter Miller discovers that his ancestors were enslaved at a plantation house he now owns. He and his cousins try to find evidence that his ancestors were there, and Karice Luck-Brimmer helps them find records that prove it.
  • 00:20:00 The video features the Millers, a family of African-Americans who trace their ancestry back to enslaved ancestors, visiting a plantation house where their ancestors were once enslaved. The descendants are overcome with emotions upon visiting the property, and are grateful for the chance to finally own and occupy it. Fred Miller has plans to convert the house into a museum to educate people about the history of slavery.
  • 00:25:00 The video focuses on Fred Miller, a man who has recently purchased a former plantation house where his ancestors were enslaved. Fred is excited to be able to learn more about his family's history and plans to open the house to historians. Violet and David, Fred's ancestors, would be proud of him, he believes, for enduring a lot during their captivity.

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