Slavery During the Founding Era of America



Slavery and the Founding Fathers

Hercules, Billy Lee, and Ona Judge

Hercules Washington One of the enslaved people of Washington was Hercules. He worked as a cook for Washington and was recorded as being good-looking and having amazing culinary ability. Washington thought that Hercules cooking was so good that he allowed... Continue Reading →


George Washington as a Slaveholder

George Washington was a fourth-generation plantation holder. Over his life span, he spent more than 2,000 dollars on captive labor and in the years leading up to the revolution, he doubled the number of enslaved people he owned.[1] This focuses... Continue Reading →

Enslaved Families of Monticello: The Hemings Family

Five generations of Hemingses lived at Monticello over Thomas Jefferson’s lifespan with over one-third of the enslaved people of Monticello belonging to this one family. An activity can be found below, where the reader can put together the Hemings family... Continue Reading →

Enslaved Families of Monticello: Jupiter and Suck

Jupiter was a personal servant to Jefferson. He took care of Jefferson’s shave, dress, and handling of all his personal affairs. Additionally, he trained as a stone cutter since Jefferson required all male domestic servants to train in a second... Continue Reading →

Mulberry Row at Monticello

Mulberry Row is where most enslaved people lived and worked. This area, located off of the main house, held workshops, storage buildings, and homes. Go to and name the structures that are found in Figure 4.  Jefferson changed Mulberry... Continue Reading →

Thomas Jefferson as a Slaveholder

Jefferson valued efficiency and effectiveness, and those values are reflected in his performance as a slaveholder. In 1776, Jefferson made a census of the “Number of Soul in [his] Family,” which numbered 117 people. Excluding his own white family and... Continue Reading →

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