On Thursday, Hartwell posted a photo of himself standing in front of the white plantation-style home. In the post’s caption, Hartwell opens up about how he discovered it three weeks ago. He writes that he knew he wanted to purchase the house after seeing it; However, when he called the realtor agent, they told him the sellers were only accepting cash offers. They speculated that this stipulation “took him off the table” as a possible buyer.
“Don't you ever underestimate a hard-working black man,” he wrote in the caption. “I saw the house last week and when I walked in I knew I was home.”
Hartwell explained that slaves built the house for the Russell family in 1820, who were owners of a local cotton mill. “Slavery was still legal,” he wrote. “When the agent asked me why I wanted such a large house I said it was ‘a generational move.’”
The actor clarified that he bought the house as a way to honor the slaves who built it. He wrote that he only wished he could have told his “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.’”
“We are building our own tables,” he wrote. “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.”
Hartwell didn’t reveal the location of his home. As a Broadway star, he has appeared in productions like Hello, Dolly! and Motown the Musical.