George Washington’s Mount Vernon joins Black Women United for Action in remembering the enslaved people who lived and worked at Mount Vernon with a program and wreathlaying ceremony at the Slave Memorial.

This program will be offered onsite.

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Add to Calendar 10/07/2023 11:00:00 10/07/2023 America/New_York Slave Memorial Commemoration

George Washington’s Mount Vernon joins Black Women United for Action in remembering the enslaved people who lived and worked at Mount Vernon with a program and wreathlaying ceremony at the Slave Memorial.

This program will be offered onsite.

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Slave Memorial

Slave Memorial Commemoration

George Washington’s Mount Vernon joins Black Women United for Action in remembering the enslaved people who lived and worked at Mount Vernon with a program and wreath-laying ceremony at the Slave Memorial.

Performing Artists

Dominic Shodekeh Talifero, Breath Artist
2023-2024 Mount Vernon Research Fellow

Takesha Meshé Kizart, dramatic soprano

Virginia State University Concert Choir

The Nikki Giovanni Youth Writers

The Slave Memorial

The Slave Memorial at Mount Vernon marks the site where both free and enslaved people were buried in the 18th and 19th centuries, without permanent identifying markers. Among those thought to be buried at the site are William Lee and West Ford. Both Lee and Ford were free men at the time of their deaths.

The Memorial was designed by students attending the architectural school at Howard University. It was dedicated and opened to the public on September 21, 1983. A gray, truncated, granite column which represents “life unfinished” is the center of three concentric brick circles. The three steps leading up to the column are inscribed, respectively, “Faith,” “Hope” and “Love” – the virtues that sustained those living in bondage.

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1929 Marker

The Slave Memorial stands adjacent to a monument erected on the site in 1929 by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association to mark this sacred place. This marker is believed to be the earliest of its kind on a historic plantation.

It reads, “In memory of the many faithful colored servants of the Washington family buried at Mount Vernon from 1760 to 1860. Their unidentified graves surround this spot.” While the reference to “faithful colored servants” embodies a nostalgic view of slavery, the monument represented an early effort to acknowledge the lives of those who labored on the estate.

Slavery at Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon was the home of George Washington. It was also where hundreds of enslaved men, women, and children lived under Washington’s control. He depended on their labor to build and maintain his household and plantation. They, in turn, found ways to survive in a world that denied their freedom.

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Podcast: Intertwined

Intertwined: The Enslaved Community at George Washington’s Mount Vernon tells the story of the more than 577 people enslaved by George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon.

Told through the biographies of Sambo Anderson, Davy Gray, William Lee, Kate, Ona Judge, Nancy Carter Quander, Edmund Parker, Caroline Branham, and the Washingtons, this eight-part podcast series explores the lives and labors of Mount Vernon’s enslaved community, and how we interpret slavery at the historic site today.

Listen to the Podcast

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