George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, was also the residence of over 300 enslaved individuals whose lives helped shape the 18th century and whose legacies live on today. Through new interpretations of written records and archaeological evidence, the individual narratives of Billy Lee, Priscilla, Hercules, Caroline Branham, and others create learning opportunities that can broaden students’ understanding of slavery. Explore the challenge of teaching slavery and race in today’s classroom during a deep dive into primary sources that illuminate the choices enslaved people had, what their daily lives were like, and how Washington and those enslaved at Mount Vernon shaped each others' lives on the estate, as well as the national stage. 

Past Program Scholars and Speakers

Lead Scholar Dr. Kathryn Silva, Assistant Professor specializing in African and African American gender and labor history at Claflin University

Lead Scholar Richard Josey, President and Principal Consultant for Collective Journeys LLC

Teacher Facilitator Matthew Van Horn, Department Chair in the Francis Howell School District in St. Charles, Missouri

Christy S. Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, VA.

"Hearing from Dr. Silva on slavery gave me a lot of background information that I did not have as a history teacher. She made connections between topics that I had not considered. Mr. Josey gave me the methods to determine my own bias and racism so that I could effectively teach the issue of slavery in my classroom. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting, but worth every minute." 

-2018 George Washington Teacher Institute Participant

" I feel like I am walking away from Mount Vernon with a much better grasp on the attitudes of George Washington and the founding fathers with regards to slavery, but more importantly, I think I have a much better insight into the attitudes of the slaves towards George Washington and the founding fathers."

-2017 George Washington Teacher Institute Participant

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