IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Broadway star buys home he says was built by slaves, promises to 'fill it with love'

Robert Hartwell said he wishes the slaves who built the house knew "that 200 years later a free gay black man was going to own it."
/ Source: TODAY

Broadway star Robert Hartwell shared the historical significance of his latest purchase, a home that was built by slaves in 1820.

Hartwell, who starred in "Hello Dolly!" and "Motown the Musical," posted a photo on Instagram of himself smiling in front of his new home and opened up about what it means to him.

"3 weeks ago I found this house online. I said, 'this is my house.' I called the seller and was told it was a cash only offer and that 'I’m sure that takes you off the table,'" he wrote. "Don’t you ever underestimate a hard working black man."

When Hartwell toured the home last week, he said it confirmed his hunch that it was the perfect place for him to call home.

Hartwell didn't disclose the location of the home, but shared some insight into its history.

"The house was built in 1820 for the Russell family who owned the cotton mill in town. Slavery was still legal," he said.

"When the agent asked me why I wanted such a large house I said it was 'a generational move,'" he added. "I know this house is bigger than me."

The historical significance of owning a property that was built by slaves is something Hartwell said he intends to honor.

"I wish I could’ve told my ancestors when they were breaking their backs in 1820 to build this house that 200 years later a free gay black man was going to own it and fill it with love and find a way to say their name even when 200 years later they still thought I would be 'off the table,'" he said. "We are building our own tables. I’ve never been prouder to be a black man. Come to my White House any time. I can’t wait to have you! Glory to God in the highest. I’m a homeowner."

TODAY has reached out to Hartwell for further comment and we will update this post if he gets back to us.

Friends and followers have been sharing their excitement and congratulatory wishes for Hartwell on his new home.

"This made me so happy," wrote Todrick Hall.

HGTV star and architect John Gidding added that he can't wait to see more photos of the home.

"Whaaaat an amazing purchase and story," he wrote. "Can’t wait to see the renovation."

This article has been updated.