Friday, February 18, 2011

Life under President Washington from 3 slave's perspective : lecture at Gadsby's Tavern

"At Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Professor Peter Henriques spoke on  Those Who Labor for Me: A Closer Look at Some of George Washington’s Enslaved Workers.” Professor Peter Henriques, Professor of History Emeritus from George Mason University took a somewhat different approach to the topic of George Washington and slavery. The focus was primarily on a handful of enslaved workers, Charlotte, Sambo Anderson, and Ona Judge, plus a few others, and only tangentially on Washington. With the goal of introducing these fascinating but largely forgotten people to a wider audience, Professor Henriques not only illustrated the horrors of slavery but also revealed a more complicated story than generally known. "

(I cite most of the text above from the Alexandria VA website.)  The lecture will be broadcast on C-SPAN. Some of these slaves, for example, owned a gun and was skillful in its use. Another, such as Washington's chef Hercules, was quite a "dandy" in his sartorial expression. Prof. Henriques spoke illustratively about their relationship and President Washington's duplicity in moving Hercules in and out of Pennsylvania so as to prevent a local law from freeing him. If a slave were in Pa. for six continuous months, he could sue for his freedom. Hercule's pride was hurt when discovering why Washington moved him out of the State of Pa. in that manner.

As Black History Month is almost half over, I hope to learn more about our nation's tarnished legacy of slavery.

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