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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Arlington House: From Slavery to Freedom

From its earliest days, Arlington was home not only to the Custis and Lee families who occupied the mansion, but also dozens of slaves who lived and labored on the estate. For nearly sixty years, Arlington functioned as a complex society made up of owners and slaves. On the surface, Arlington appeared as a harmonious community in which owner and slave often lived and worked side by side. Yet an invisible gulf separated the two, as slaves were the legal property of their owners. Slaves possessed no rights, could not enter into legally binding contracts, and could be permanently separated from their families at a moment's notice. The contributions of the Arlington slaves have always been a vital component of the plantations history. They made the bricks used in the construction of Arlington House, tended crops, gardens, and livestock, and even functioned as guardians of their owners' heritage. Yet the slave community at Arlington possessed a history of its own.

This Exhibit cast new light on the experiences and memories of the slave who called Arlington home.

Date of Report: March 1, 2013
Number of Pages: 10
Order Number: G1336
Price: $5.95

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