George Washington’s Mount Vernon joins Black Women United for Action in remembering the slaves who lived at Mount Vernon with a program and wreathlaying ceremony at the Slave Memorial. 

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Add to Calendar 09/30/2017 12:00:00 09/30/2017 13:00:00 America/Rio_Branco Slave Memorial Commemoration

George Washington’s Mount Vernon joins Black Women United for Action in remembering the slaves who lived at Mount Vernon with a program and wreathlaying ceremony at the Slave Memorial. 

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This public event begins at the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Theater in the Ford Orientation Center and features dramatic readings, performances, and uplifting music in recognition of the slaves’ sacrifices and contributions to the early formation of this nation. The ceremony this year is dedicated to the memory of Oney "Ona" Judge, a personal slave to Martha Washington.

After the program in the Orientation Center, guests proceed to the Slave Memorial where screenwriter and producer La Toya Morgan and author Erica Armstrong Dunbar will perform a special wreathlaying during the ceremony. 

Visitors are invited to place a boxwood sprig on the Slave Memorial’s stone steps emblazoned with “Faith, Hope, Love.”

The Slave Memorial

The Slave Memorial at Mount Vernon was designed by students attending the architectural school at Howard University. It was dedicated and opened to the public on September 21, 1983. A gray, truncated, granite column which represents “life unfinished” is the center of three concentric brick circles. The three steps leading up to the column are inscribed, respectively, “Faith,” “Hope” and “Love” – the virtues that sustained those living in bondage.

The memorial marks the site where both slaves and freed slaves were buried in the 18th and 19th centuries, usually without identifying markers. Among those thought to be buried at the site are William Lee, George Washington’s personal servant during the Revolutionary War, and West Ford, who worked as a manager for the Washington family after the General’s death in 1799. Both Lee and Ford were not enslaved at the time of their deaths.

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