The Presentation of Slavery at Mount Vernon: Power Priviledge, and Historical Truth

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2005-06-22

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Although the labor of enslaved Africans and Black Americans played a large part in the history of colonial America, the presentation of slavery at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens is, for the most part, incomplete and leaves visitors with an inaccurate impression of the reality of slavery. This research utilizes questionnaires completed by visitors on-site and field observations of various historical interpretations at Mount Vernon to answer two major research questions: (1) How is slavery portrayed at Mount Vernon? and (2) To what degree are visitors critical of the story of slavery told at Mount Vernon? The results indicated that the presentation of slavery is inconsistent and that the history of slaves at Mount Vernon is marginalized and easily avoided by most visitors.

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