Wednesday, November 16, 2011

George Washington's Slaves

George Washington had slaves? This astounds students. This list of slaves, drawn up by George Washington sometime in 1799, provides a view into plantation life and offers many topics about colonial life for students to pursue in their own inquiry.

The slave list, available in a typescript as well as original format, includes George Washington's slaves on the left (who were to be freed upon the death of Martha Washington) and Mount Vernon's "Dower" slaves on the right (who were to go to Martha's Custis heirs upon her death).

By closely analyzing the document, students can build a list of questions for future research around topics such as slave family life, work on a plantation, and slave children's lives. There is a teacher's guide to this document available from Mt. Vernon.

Where to go for research?

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