Viola Davis pays homage to her roots.
On Tuesday, the day of her 55th birthday, the acclaimed actress posted a photo of the house where she was born, located in St. Matthews, South Carolina.
“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,” she wrote.
The Oscar, Emmy, and Tony winner also added a Cherokee birth blessing that states, “May you live long enough to know why you were born.”
Though many interpreted Davis’ caption to imply that she actually purchased the property, she later clarified in an IG comment, “Uhh…contrary to websites….I do not ‘own’ above house, I ‘own’ my STORY!! Too abstract I guess.”
In a 2016 interview with People, Davis reminisced about the short time she lived on her grandmother’s farm, which was part of the Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews.
“I wasn’t on it long, because I was the fifth child, and so we moved soon after I was born,” she said. “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.”
Though the outhouse had “no running water” and “no bathroom,” Davis’s family has fond memories of the shack, including the moment when she was born.
“But my mom says that the day I was born, all of my aunts and uncles were in the house. Everyone was drinking and laughing, and having fun,” she recalled. “She said she ate a sardine, mustard, onion, tomato sandwich after I was born.”
While acknowledging her family’s painful past, Davis is still able to find “joy” amid these difficult times.
“I love that story,” Davis continued. “It’s a great story to me. 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.”