Mission Statements of Belle Meade
To create innovative and inclusive guest experiences, engaging educational opportunities, and a fulfilling team environment, while preserving the historic relevance of the site for future generations.
Belle Meade began in 1807 with a log cabin and 250 acres. Over time, with the dedication of the Harding and Jackson families and the hard-working laborers who lived here before and after emancipation, this site became one of the largest thoroughbred horse farms in the South. We are committed to tell the story. The full story.
There are records listing some of the names of individuals who were held in slavery at Belle Meade between 1807 and 1865… but, there are many more whose names were not recorded. We are committed to telling their stories through our “Journey to Jubilee” tour and “Stories of Slavery and Freedom” programming. The lives of the enslaved, the skills in which they excelled and the lasting contribution they made are an integral part to the history and legacy of Belle Meade. We will continue to research records and gather the oral histories of these women, men and children and incorporate it into the daily education we provide to guests. We are committed to be a site that provides historical context for meaningful and honest conversations.
We acknowledge that every community is linked to the many thousands of people from around the world, whose lives have led us to this moment. Some people were brought here against their will, while others were forced to abandon their homes, even as others were drawn from their own ancestral lands in the hope of a better life. We believe that truth telling is at the heart of mutual respect, and that it will ultimately connect us all beyond the bounds of heritage and differences. To this end, we invite you to join us as we honor the history of all the women, men, and children who have ever lived on this land. Therefore, we acknowledge and pay respect to the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Shawnee, and other tribal nations, and to their elders, both past and present, who once called Tennessee their homeland. Please take a moment to consider the many legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and settlement that have combined to bring us all here together today.