Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello (Slavery at the Home of George Washington )
[Stanton's] extensive familiarity with the details of slavery at Monticello, based on many years of research, makes her certainly the most knowledgeable historian of the subject. Stanton’s work brings us as close as possible to seeing the world of Monticello through the perspective of its enslaved community. (William and Mary Quarterly)
Although Thomas Jefferson, author of the words “All men are created equal,” was a lifelong enemy of the institution of slavery, he considered over six hundred human beings his legal possessions over the course of his long life. Building on Stanton’s highly acclaimed Slavery at Monticello, this fascinating work highlights the stories of six enslaved families who lived and worked at Monticello and provides general information on events and issues that affected the entire African-American community.
Informed by the extensive records and accounts of Thomas Jefferson, the book also draws from oral histories of the descendants of former slaves as well as the reminiscences and letters left by men and women who lived in slavery at Monticello. Stanton unveils the lives of the African Americans who experienced bondage on Jefferson’s plantations and examines the wide variety of ways in which individuals responded to their situation, whether as “trusty servants,” resourceful leaders, or outright rebels. The book also chronicles the many accomplishments of Monticello slaves and their descendants, either during their enslavement, as the creators of hand-crafted furniture in Monticello’s joinery and European-inspired cuisine served in the Monticello dining room; or after gaining freedom, as the founders of churches and schools and businesses. The skills practiced at Monticello were carried to all parts of the country, and the fight for education, freedom, and family integrity continued long after they left the mountaintop.
Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7 x 0.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Slavery at the Home of George Washington
George Washington inherited his first slave at the age of eleven, and he was the only founding father to free his slaves in his will. This highly readable selection of articles focuses on Washington’s changing attitudes toward the institution of slavery and his everyday relationships with the slaves who shared his Mount Vernon estate. Along with his insightful introduction, editor Philip J. Schwarz has included James C. Rees’s essay “Looking Back, Moving Forward: The Changing Interpretation of Slave Life on the Mount Vernon Estate,” Dennis J. Pogue’s essay “Slave Lifeways at Mount Vernon: An Archaeological Perspective,” and Lorena S. Walsh’s essay “Slavery and Agriculture at Mount Vernon,” as well as essays by Jean B. Lee, Mary V. Thompson, and Edna Greene Medford.