Plaque for Enslaved Laborers at Cherrydale Alumni House

Item

Legacies Classification
Memorial Object
Memorial Type
Plaque/Marker
Memorial Context
Memorialized Subject
Sims, Abraham
Enslaved laborers forced to work at Cherrydale House
Title
Plaque for Enslaved Laborers at Cherrydale Alumni House
Background and Context
Located in front of Furman University's Cherrydale Alumni House, the plaque recognizes the approximately 50 enslaved laborers who were forced to live and work at Cherrydale. The plaque specifically commemorates Abraham Sims, a freed slave and family servant of Furman University's first president, James C. Furman. Sims is visible in a photograph of the home taken in 1890, on the back of which is written, “Abraham, an ex-slave, for many years a family servant, shown between bushes below porch.”

Representing a "valuable link to a past challenging to discover," the photograph inspired Furman's Task Force On Slavery and Justice to pursue further knowledge of Sims and other enslaved laborers connected to the university. Sims is the namesake of the Task Force's 2018 "Seeking Abraham" report, in which the plaque was first recommended.
Physical Description
The plaque is made out of cast iron and measures 3.5 feet by 2.5 feet
Memorial Inscription
For over 150 years, this structure was located on the current site of the Cherrydale Point shopping center. From 1857 through the end of the Civil War, the home was the center of an 867.5-acre plantation owned by Furman University’s first president, James C. Furman. Abraham, Clark, Joanna, Jethro, Mary, Paris, Primus, Richard, Sylvia, and Toney were some of the approximately 50 enslaved people who were compelled to live and work at Cherrydale. After the war, the Furmans remained here, and some of the family’s former enslaved laborers, including Abraham Sims, continued to work for them.

President Furman died in the home in 1891 and it was passed to his wife and eventually their children. In 1939, Eugene E. Stone III, founder of Stone Manufacturing, purchased the home. The Stone family and Cherrydale Point developer AIG Baker gifted it to Furman, and in 1999, over the course of two days, the home was transported to this site.
Creator/Participating Person(s)
Furman University's Task Force On Slavery and Justice
Date created, installed or dedicated
2021
Campus Location
Location: Institution, City, State

Position: 184 (8 views)