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William (Billy) Lee perhaps knew George Washington as well as anyone could. Purchased in 1768, Lee became Washington’s valet, or manservant. He rode by Washington’s side during all eight years of the American Revolution where he helped Washington dress, served meals, and delivering personal correspondence. Billy was also with Washington in Philadelphia during the Constitutional Convention – an enslaved man who was with the General when he engaged in conversations that shaped a nation. William Lee was the only slave freed outright in George Washington’s will.

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