I love this story, not just because it tells the story of yet another undiscovered contribution of an African-American to the history, culture, and economic power of America, rather, this story underscores the very premis of The Colorful Raconteur – storytelling in the key of LIFE!
In the 19th century, in the city of Lynchburg, in the southern slave state of Tennessee, a wealthy plantation owner paired his adopted ward, one young Jack Daniel, with his master distiller, Nathan ‘Nearest’ Green, a slave. Mr. Green created the recipe for the internationally famous Tennessee whiskey and taught it to Jack. The rest is, although belatedly revealed, history.
For me, what’s so remarkable about this story is that Jack Daniel always gave full credit to Mr. Green for creating the recipe and acknowledged him as his mentor. There was never any deception, theft, or underhanded grift usually associated with such relationships.
This is a powerful story that needs to be repeated as often as possible for the lesson learned: these two totally different people found a commanlity that bound them together as friends and business partners and simultaneously creating history. This could have just as easily resulted in a story of infamous tragedy. But it didn’t!
I believe that the sharing of stories can help humankind find those commanlities which can ripple into tidal waves of change.