The story of Sherrod Bryant is a story of perseverance and racial harmony; that all people have value regardless of race or economic standing. Sherrod Bryant was a young man who had very humble beginnings. He wanted to become a gentleman farmer. He not only achieved that goal, Sherrod would go on to become one of the most successful land and plantation owners in the South during the 1800’s. The fact that he accomplished this isn’t the amazing part. What’s amazing about Sherrod Bryant’s story is the fact that he was a successful man of color during slavery.
Sherrod grew up in a small village in the hills where Whites, Blacks and Native American’s lived, worked, intermarried and had families together. Sherrod’s father Silas is one of the elders and is instrumental in building this diverse community. At the age of 21, Sherrod leaves the comforts of the village that he grew up in to pursue his dream. His father Silas is opposed to him leaving and tries to tell Sherrod about the dangers and hardships that he might experience in the outside world. Sherrod has no fear of the potential pitfalls that he might encounter.
Sherrod becomes an indentured servant at Cole Manor. Initially, he wasn’t accepted by either the white community or the slave community. In a short time, he later gained acceptance and respect while turning Cole Manor into one of the most successful cotton plantations in the South.
The story of Sherrod Bryant is also a story of a love affair with the plantation owner’s daughter Mary Polly. This forbidden relationship could never be shared with anyone because doing so would mean certain doom for both Sherrod and Marry Polly. Over the next few years, Sherrod moves to Nashville Tennessee and becomes one of the most successful land owners in the south. Sherrod and Mary Polly have a son. Her family soon finds out about the child. They are forced to separate, and Sherrod raises their son. With financial help from Mary Polly, Sherrod purchases and cultivates more than 700 acres of land. He buys slaves whom he gives freedom to. Sherrod provides jobs and helps them to live as free men and women. In the end, Sherrod re-builds the multi-racial community of his youth in Bryant Town. This town served as a beacon of racial unity during a tumultuous time.