Plans to honor Nathan “Nearest” Green include street renaming, museum, memorial park, book, and a scholarship fund.
New York Times best-selling author Fawn Weaver has created the Nearest Green Foundation, an organization that will honor the man who taught Jack Daniels how to make whiskey. In a press statement, Weaver said she was inspired to create the foundation, after learning about Green from a story written by the New York Times in 2016. The story detailed Green’s relationship with Dan Call, who owned a whiskey distillery in the mid-1800s in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Green, who was an enslaved black man, served as the master distiller for Call’s whiskey operations, and ultimately taught Daniels how to make the liquor.
“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. “I liked the story of Jack Daniel, but Nearest Green’s story and the community at large really stayed with me.”
Call eventually handed the distillery to Daniels but his and Green’s families continued to work with each other for years. Now, the 313-acre farm once owned by Call and where the distillery was located, is now owned by Weaver and her husband.
As a part of the Nearest Green Foundation Weaver has several projects in the works including a memorial park, a museum in Lynchburg dedicated to the history of Tennessee whiskey, renaming a local street to Nearest Green Way, a book chronicling Green’s life and a scholarship fund for his direct descendants. The foundation also has plans to place artifacts on permanent loan to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture.