Skip to main content

Lives Bound Together: Slavery and Freedom in the 19th Century

This page provides resources accompanying the Slavery and Freedom in the 19th Century Galleries in the Lives Bound Together Virtual Exhibit. It contains primary and secondary sources on events occurring after George and Martha Washington's Deaths within the enslaved community at Mount Vernon. Use these resources to aid exhibit exploration, learn more about the system of slavery, and find useful learning materials.

George Washington's Will

When George Washington was dying, he chose this will to be enacted after his death. The will stated that all enslaved people he outright owned would be freed after Martha's death.

Freedom for Some, Not All

Martha Washington as a Slave Owner

Unlike George Washington, Martha Washington did not seem to question the system of slavery. When she died, she chose not to free the enslaved people that she outright owned in her will.

Martha Washington on Slavery

A Community Divided

After the Washington's deaths, the enslaved population at Mount Vernon was divided as certain family members were freed, while others were kept under bondage.

What happened?

Explore the Slave Memorial

This memorial was created to honor the individuals who were enslaved at Mount Vernon.

A Timeline of Interpretation

Click the link to learn about how Mount Vernon interpreted enslavement at Washington's Estate

To the Timeline

The Slave Memorial

Today at Mount Vernon, there is a memorial dedicated to the people enslaved before, during, and after Washington's time.

Read about the Memorial

From Slavery to Freedom

After the Washingtons' deaths, many formerly enslaved people settled in neighboring freed black communities.

The Freed Population

What happened to the enslaved community at Mount Vernon after the Washingtons’ deaths?