Several community members turned out to Bryan's Place in Zanesville Saturday to honor the life of Nelson T. Gant.
The 12th annual birthday celebration included brunch, a 50 - 50 raffle, silent auction, and a dance performance. While the main purpose of the event was to raise money for the Gant Foundation, there was another important reason for the gathering as well.
"It's also to remember the legacy of Nelson Gant who was a former slave, born into slavery, secured his freedom, then secured the freedom of his wife, and they came to Zanesville," said Michael Jackson, Secretary of the Gant Foundation. "He became a millionaire. In addition, he became a prominent citizen here."
Ohio University of Zanesville Professor Liesta Walker served as the guest speaker and shared a message entitled "Meeting the Challenge."
"It's not so much the challenge itself, it's the attitude and the outcome, and that's what I want to present," Walker said. "Not only how did Nelson meet the challenge, but how are we as individuals going to maybe change our mindset when challenges come at us, because life happens to everybody everyday, so consequently, there are a multitude of challenges that we have to address throughout our lives."
Jackson said over $5000 was raised from Saturday's brunch. That money is being used to restore the Gant House which they hope to have open to the public soon.