"If all I ever accomplished in my life was buying back my grandparents' farm and restoring it to something they would be proud of, that would be enough," Brianna Meeks said

By Jason Duaine Hahn
June 15, 2020 08:03 PM
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Farm Fundraiser
Credit: GoFundMe

Brianna Meeks has dreamed of buying the home her grandparents used to own, and thanks to thousands of donations that have come her way, the moment may have finally arrived.

On Wednesday, Meeks, from Atlanta, Georgia, launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to purchase a farm in Petersberg, Tennessee. While this is not something normally on the wish lists of 29-year-olds, the property holds significant value for Meeks since it used to belong to her grandparents, Arthur and Annie Stone.

When Arthur died in 2007, Annie couldn't tend to the farm by herself, so the couple's daughters — including Meeks' mom — decided to put it up for sale.

"I was 17 at the time, and the longing for that farmhouse with the dark green shutters has stayed on my shoulders all these years since," Meeks wrote on the page.

"This farmhouse was where we spent countless happy Thanksgivings, Christmases, and summer holiday," she continued.

But it wasn't just these family gatherings and warm memories that made the place special.

Brianna
Brianna Meeks
| Credit: Brianna/instagram

On the donation page, Meeks explains that her grandparents, and their parents before them, were sharecroppers.

Typically, sharecropping entails renting a small portion of land from a landowner in exchange for a part of their crop at the end of the season. While this has been practiced for centuries, white landowners used it to exploit former slaves following the end of the American Civil War in 1865, according to the History Channel.

While freedmen and freedwomen sought to build upon their independence through sharecropping, they often ended up with massive debts that they were unable to pay the landowners. Many were threatened with violence if they didn't sign contracts that would essentially keep them in poverty, the outlet added.

Farm Fundraiser
The farm that Meeks' grandparents used to own
| Credit: GoFundMe

"In the last years of her life, [my grandmother] told me that she had taken to being pen pals with the son of the landowner she sharecropped for," Meeks wrote on GoFundMe. "He apologized for the ways he and his family had wronged my grandparents."

"It is no small feat that these people — my people — born not even 60 years after the dissolution of slavery, broke the mold of their families and somehow overcame admitted wrongdoing," she continued. "That feels like another miracle."

Meeks said she created the GoFundMe campaign when she learned the current owner of her grandparents' farm had put it up for sale.

"If all I ever accomplished in my life was buying back my grandparents’ farm and restoring it to something they would be proud of, that would be enough," she explained. "I want to live a life where my siblings and our children can go back there for holidays. I want my mama to spend more Thanksgivings or Christmases there in her life."

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Since then, her campaign has exploded, raising more than $110,000 toward her $150,000 goal as of Monday afternoon.

Meeks tells PEOPLE she is currently trying to "hash out a deal" with the owner, and she is grateful for all those who donated.

"I am aghast at the money raised," she tells PEOPLE. "I knew I’d have to go viral to get anywhere near my goal, but to actually have it happen is delightful and shocking."