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Black Broadway actor proudly buys 1820s slave-built house

A Black Broadway actor shared his immense pride on Instagram this week after buying an historic house .

Robert Hartwell, an actor and dancer who has appeared in Hello, Dolly! and Motown the Musical, posted a photo of his new home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, on Thursday, showing himself smiling outside the impressive white house with a red door and two-story columns.

In the image’s caption, Robert explained how he knew the house was his as soon as he saw it online — and managed to snag the $379,000 property despite the owner implying that he wouldn’t be able to afford it. 

Home sweet home: Robert Hartwell, an actor and dancer who has appeared in Hello, Dolly! and “Motown the Musical, posted a photo of his new home on Thursday

Amazing! He shared his immense pride after buying an historic house that was built in the 1820s when slavery was still legal in Massachusetts - where the property is located

Amazing! He shared his immense pride after buying an historic house that was built in the 1820s when slavery was still legal in Massachusetts – where the property is located 

Historic: The house was built in 1820 for the Russell family, who owned the cotton mill in Great Barrington. At the time, slavery was still legal in the state

Historic: The house was built in 1820 for the Russell family, who owned the cotton mill in Great Barrington. At the time, slavery was still legal in the state 

The house was built in 1820 for the Russell family, who owned the cotton mill in the town. 

However, the state’s 1790 census recorded no slaves in Massachusetts. 

By that time the attitude towards slavery had changed drastically and many slave owners had begun paying their workers in the late 18th century.   

‘Three weeks ago I found this house online,’ he wrote. ‘I said, “This is my house.” 

Home: According to its online listing, Russell House boasts four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms - and it was described as being ready for 'renovation'

Home: According to its online listing, Russell House boasts four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms – and it was described as being ready for ‘renovation’

Snapped it up: Robert is understood to have paid $379,000 for the home

Snapped it up: Robert is understood to have paid $379,000 for the home 

'I know this house is bigger than me,' he wrote. 'I’ve never been prouder to be a black man. Come to my White House any time'

‘I know this house is bigger than me,’ he wrote. ‘I’ve never been prouder to be a black man. Come to my White House any time’

‘I called the seller and was told it was a cash only offer and that, “I’m sure that takes you off the table.” Don’t you ever underestimate a hard working black man. 

‘I saw the house last week and when I walked in I knew I was home.

‘When the agent asked me why I wanted such a large house I said it was “a generational move.” I know this house is bigger than me. 

‘I wish I could’ve told my ancestors when they were breaking their backs in 1820 to build this house that 200 years later a free gay black man was going to own it and fill it with love and find a way to say their name even when 200 years later they still thought I would be “off the table.”

‘We are building our own tables,’ he said. 

‘I’ve never been prouder to be a black man. Come to my White House any time. I can’t wait to have you! Glory to God in the highest. I’m a homeowner.’

The house, which features four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, was described as being ‘available for renovation’. It is located in Great Barrington, which was once described by Vogue as being one of ‘the most charming towns in the Berkshires’.  

'I wish I could’ve told my ancestors when they were breaking their backs in 1820 to build this house that 200 years later a free gay black man was going to own it,' he said

‘I wish I could’ve told my ancestors when they were breaking their backs in 1820 to build this house that 200 years later a free gay black man was going to own it,’ he said

Yay! Robert, who is also founder of the Broadway Collective, received words of congratulations from several other actors and entertainment professionals

Yay! Robert, who is also founder of the Broadway Collective, received words of congratulations from several other actors and entertainment professionals

The family that once lived in the home founded the Russell Manufacturing Company in 1902, which is now called Russell Athletic and has made sports apparel for several NFL teams, MLB teams, and the Harlem Globetrotters. 

Robert, who is also founder of the Broadway Collective, received words of congratulations from several other actors and entertainment professionals.

‘This made me so happy,’ wrote Todrick Hall, while Hamilton’s Ephraim Sykes wrote: ‘So happy for you bro.’

‘YES!!!! Congratulations my man!!!’ wrote Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart.  

‘Oh @sirroberttakespics this fills me with so much joy, tears in my eyes to read your words, to feel your pride,’ added actress Kelli O’Hara.

Tituss Burgess, Gotham’s Cory Michael Smith, Mad Men’s Teyonah Parris, The Wire’s Dan DeLuca, and So You Think You Can Dance winner Melanie Moore were also among those to chime in.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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