New Foundation Will Honor the Legacy of African-American Distiller Nearis Green Who Was Left Out of History Books Until Recently

Mark Babatunde August 02, 2017
Nathan 'Nearis' Green (wearing a black hat) is pictured next to Jack Daniel in a group photo. Both men have their faces circled. Photo Credit: Black Feelings

Nearis Green, the African-American master distiller who taught ‘Jack Daniel’ the recipe for his world famous whiskey has been honored with a new foundation.

Last year Face2Face Africa reported that Green, a slave from Lynchburg, Tennessee who taught Daniel the art of whiskey-making had been mostly unacknowledged in the narrative about the origins of the Jack Daniel brand.

With the contributions of so many important black inventors written out of the pages of history, it is of no surprise that the important role played by Green in the development of what is easily the bestselling American whiskey brand in the world, went unheralded for more than a century, even in the official records of Jack Daniel distillery.

For New York Times best-selling author, Fawn Weaver, the importance of a people’s history can never be overemphasized and stories about the accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans like Green must be told.

“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 said in a statement last week.

“I liked the story of Jack Daniel, but Nearest Green’s story and the community at large really stayed with me,” she said.

So in honour of Green’s memory, Weaver recently launched a foundation to celebrate his accomplishments.

Weaver says the foundation hopes to open a museum in Lynchburg to highlight Green’s contribution to Tennessee Whiskey’s history. The foundation also plans to publish a book celebrating Green’s achievements and set up a scholarship fund to assist Green’s descendants.

Weaver also purchased the former home of Dan Call, the white slave owner who owned Green but treated him with such comparative kindness that Green choose to stay on and continue to work for him, even after he gained his freedom.

Weaver explains that it was on Mr. Call’s farm that Green met and taught a young Jack Daniel the secrets of the fine art of distilling the unique Tennessee brand whiskey.

Call eventually gave the farm to Daniel and it became the grounds upon which the first Jack Daniels distillery was built.

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: August 2, 2017


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