Fawn Weaver created the Nearest Green Foundation, an organization that will honor Nathan “Nearest” Green, the slave who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey.
The initiative was started by Weaver, a New York Times best-selling author who plans to honor Green by “including a museum, memorial park, book about his life and college scholarships for his descendants,” according to a statement from the foundation.
The first people to get the scholarships will be Matthew McGilberry and Marcus Butler, who are set to attend college this fall.
Weaver was inspired by Green, a Lynchburg, Tennessee native, after she went on an international business trip with her husband and, “she read and was struck by the narrative – a slave whose significance in the Tennessee whiskey industry was uncovered and acknowledged.
As she dug deeper, she realized the story was not about just two men, but rather an entire community of African-Americans and whites in the South living and working in harmony.”
“The idea that there were positive stories out there of Whites and Blacks working side by side, through and beyond the Civil War, resonated with me,” Weaver stated. “I liked the story of Jack Daniel, but Nearest Green’s story and the community at large really stayed with me.”
Now, the 300-acre farm where the distillery once was located is owned by Weaver and her husband.
The purpose of the foundation is not to just pay homage to Green, but to make sure his story isn’t forgotten. And that starts with artifacts being transported to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in the District of Columbia.