Classroom Tips

The object pictured here is a simple toy marble. It is made of limestone and polished smooth. While it is always difficult to associate an archaeological item with a singular person, it is possible a toy such as this would have been used if not owned by one of the many enslaved children living and working at the Mansion Farm during George Washington’s lifetime. In 1799, the year of Washington’s death, 28 children under the age of 14 were living and working at the Mansion House Farm. Objects such as this marble offer a small glimpse into the ways these children and their families may have sought to reclaim their humanity in the face of the dehumanizing practice of slavery through the experience of games and play.

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