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Mount Vernon Celebrates our Nation’s Early History in November

MOUNT VERNON, VA – On October 31, 2019, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation announcing the month of November as National American History and Founders Month. George Washington’s Mount Vernon welcomes this federal recognition highlighting our nation’s early history.  In a month with many events and celebrations, such as Veterans Day, Election Day, and Thanksgiving, this recognition facilitates a better understanding of our nation’s founding and struggles.  At Mount Vernon we strive daily to provide a deeper understanding of American history to the world’s future leaders, including the 300,000 students who visit each year.

November is also Native American Heritage Month, a time that we recognize the Native peoples and cultures that make up the fabric of America. Mount Vernon cannot share the story of George Washington in 18th century Virginia without including indigenous voices that played a large role in shaping his experience. Throughout his life, Washington negotiated with and served alongside native peoples, fought against others, and sought their land for his own prosperity.  In October, Mount Vernon was proud to bestow The George Washington Book Prize to author Colin Calloway for his book, “The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation.”

The mission of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is to preserve, restore, and manage the estate of George Washington to the highest standards and to educate visitors and people throughout the world about the life and legacies of George Washington, so that his example of character and leadership will continue to inform and inspire future generations. National American History and Founders Month provides recognition and focus for all Americans to appreciate how Washington and his contemporaries struggled to create a new nation, inspiring future generations to become our nation’s next civic leaders.

In a month where many Americans head to the voting booths to perform their civic duty, Americans’ knowledge of the founding era and the systems of government that make up this great nation are at an all-time low. A 2019 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center reported that just two in five Americans (39%) were able to name all three branches of government. In 2017 a survey conducted also by Annenberg reported that 37% of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

We hope that all Americans will reflect on the contributions, service, and sacrifices of Native peoples, as well as of our founders, so that we can better understand the fundamentals that make us who we are today.


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