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University of Virginia prof. visits enslaved ancestor’s home

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 5:13 PM EST
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BROWNSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - David Green teaches engineering at the University of Virginia. But just a few generations before, his ancestor lived here: a slave.

“Does it give me goosebumps? Yeah,” said David Green as he stood at a farm outside Brownsburg. “It really kind of deepens my appreciation for my beginnings.”

Green’s hobby is genealogy, inspired by his father’s interest in history.

“We would drive around here on the roads,” Green said. “And he would point out various things about people that were relatives.”

But this was his first chance to come here, to the old McChesney farm, where his great-great-great-great grandmother, Ann Redd, was a slave.

It’s an opportunity to walk the ground she worked.

“You see these fields and they’re – essentially I would imagine that what it looks like now is what it looks like then,” he said.

Green’s father was raised by a relative born in 1860, making his connections here feel very close, and the time of slavery not so long ago.

“You know, slavery wasn’t all that long ago,” Green said. “It still resonates in American society, it still influences, really, who we are as a country, and it’s something that I think people really have to get into to understand where we have been if we’re going to optimize where we’re going to go in the future.”

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