Slammin Joe on Slavery
Slammin Joe, one of George Washington's slaves at Mount Vernon, describes his views on slavery.
Learn more about George Washington and the enslaved population at Mount Vernon.
At the time of George Washington’s death, the Mount Vernon estate’s enslaved population consisted of 317 people. Washington himself had been a slave owner for fifty-six years, beginning at eleven years of age when he inherited ten slaves from his deceased father. Washington’s thoughts on slavery were contradictory and changed over time. This evolution culminated near the end of his life; Washington’s will mandated the freeing of his slaves upon his wife’s death, making him the only slaveholding Founder to put provisions for manumission in his will.
Despite having been an active slave holder for 56 years, George Washington often struggled with the institution of slavery.
A team of Mount Vernon staff and volunteers spent more than two years analyzing Washington’s papers and compiling references to the enslaved people who lived and worked on his plantation. Search by event type, person, skill, location, and more.
Take an in-depth look at the archaeological findings at the Slave Cemetery at Mount Vernon. Explore interactive maps, fascinating imagery, and more.
We rarely know what 18th-century enslaved individuals looked like. These silhouettes are meant to represent people in bondage at Mount Vernon.
Learn more about George Washington's evolving views on the institution of slavery - a path that led to his decision to emancipate his slaves upon his wife's passing.
Washington's 1799 will and testament freed the slaves that he owned. Washington became the only slave holding founding father to free his slaves.
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.
This book includes fascinating portrait of cooks, overseers, valets, farm hands who were essential to life at Mount Vernon in George Washington’s time and an examination of the conscience of the "Father of Our Country".