Topic: Slavery


Slave Life at Monticello

In one year, Thomas Jefferson owned about 200 slaves. Skilled workers built fences and barns, made nails and wove cloth. Farm workers planted, hoed, plowed and picked crops. House servants cooked meals and washed clothes. About eighty slaves lived and worked at Monticello. The others lived at Shadwell, Lego, Tufton and Poplar Forest, Jefferson’s farm…

Lesson Plan

Fire Bell in the Night

The Missouri Compromise was a difficult time in American history. The question of slavery and states’ rights came to the forefront as America and their leaders debated how...
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Isaac Jefferson

This photograph shows Isaac Jefferson, a free blacksmith in Petersburg, Virginia, in 1847. Born at Monticello, he was one of ten Jefferson slaves who escaped with the British...
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Runaway Ad

Jefferson ran this ad offering a reward for the return of “Sandy” in “The Virginia Gazette” on September 14, 1769.  ...
Lesson Plan

Slavery and the Legacy of Thomas Jefferson

Students will critically evaluate and reflect on information concerning the life of Thomas Jefferson as a slaveholder. They will also examine slavery at Monticello and the effects of...
Lesson Plan

Jefferson and Slavery — For ELD Students

Students engage in a thoughtful and academic discussion about Jefferson and slavery after having worked through key quotes and primary sources regarding the topic.

Monticello Slaves who gained freedom

Jefferson freed two slaves in his lifetime and five in his will. Three others ran away and were not pursued. All were members of the Hemings family. The seven he officially freed had skills they could use to earn money. 

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Our Countrymen in Chains

This illustrated broadside features a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Whittier accepted enslaved people as his “countrymen.” He stressed the...
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Plan and Section of a Slave Ship

This image depicts the cramped and inhumane conditions existing on a British slave ship. Anti-slavery advocates publicized such images in order to generate public outrage and garner support...