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Actress Viola Davis recently sat down with Jess Cagle, editorial director of PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly, where she shared her story of being born on a former plantation.

Davis said she was born on her grandmother’s farm, which was actually the former Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina.  Davis, who is the youngest of five, said she didn’t live on her grandmother’s farm for too long due to it being small.

Davis said, “I wasn’t on it long, because I was the fifth child, and so we moved soon after I was born.”  She continued, “I mean, I went back to visit briefly but still not aware of the history. I think I read one slave narrative of someone who was on that plantation which was horrific. 160 acres of land, and my grandfather was a sharecropper. Most of my uncles and cousins, they’re farmers. That’s the choice that they had. My grandmother’s house was a one room shack. I have a picture of it on my phone because I think it’s a beautiful picture.”

Davis spoke about the story her mother shared with her about being born.  She says that her aunts and uncles were all in the small house celebrating after she was born.  Davis stated, “It’s a great story of celebration in the midst of what you would feel is a decimated environment, but you could see the joy and the life that can come out of that, because it’s not always about things, you know.”

Davis is currently starring in Suicide Squad, which is in theaters now, and she turns 51 tomorrow, (Aug. 11th).  Read more on the story and watch the interview with Jess Cagle here.