Sarah Johnson's Mount Vernon
On March 25, 2008, Professor Casper and Dennis Pogue conducted a tour of the grounds of Mount Vernon, enhanced with illustrations.
Scott Casper talked about his book Sarah Johnson’s Mount Vernon: The Forgotten History of an American Shrine (Hill and Wang, January 2008). The book reconstructs the story of a community of blacks who worked at George Washington’s estate for the century after he died in 1799. These women, men, and children had not been George and Martha Washington’s slaves. Most of them came to Mount Vernon from 1802 to the 1850s with the members of the Washington family who inherited the estate. After the Civil War, some of them returned as free employees of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, which purchased the historic site in 1858 and has owned and operated it ever since. These black people were among the earliest paid workers at an American historic house museum. While they interacted with the white people who ran the estate and with the tourists who visited year-round, they also established their own families and communities there and in the surrounding area. The book focuses on Sarah Johnson, who lived and worked at Mount Vernon as a slave and a free worker for over fifty years. Professor Casper showed slides during his presentation. After his presentation he responded to questions from members of the audience.
People in this video
Boyce Ansley Vice Regent Mount Vernon Ladies' Association->Georgia
Scott E. Casper Chair University of Nevada, Reno->Department of History
Dennis J. Pogue Associate Director Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens->Preservation
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