Slavery at Mount Vernon: Grappling with Our Founding’s Complex Story Viewing Guide
Part I: Viewing Guide
As you view the video, answer the following questions.
- Approximately how many enslaved men, women, and children lived in the Greenhouse Slave Quarters during Washington’s time?
- How did the Greenhouse serve as a boundary on Mansion House Farm?
- Who provided the majority of the written evidence about the lives of the enslaved at Mt. Vernon?
- How is the Greenhouse Slave Quarters atypical or unusual as a home for enslaved people?
- What is “nightwalking”?
- Choose one artifact from either the men or women’s side of the Slave Quarters and explain how it provides a glimpse into the lives of the enslaved people who lived here.
- In the video, Jeremy talks about a “culture of fear.” What is the role of fear in maintaining the system of slavery? Why is this difficult to show to visitors who come to Mount Vernon?
Part II: Questions for Discussion
After you view the video, discuss the following.
- In the video, Mary referenced principles of liberty and equality. How would you define these terms?
- Imagine you are giving a tour of the Greenhouse Slave Quarters. What would you tell people about this structure?
- How can visiting historical locations like Mount Vernon help us wrestle with the complex nature of history?
- Why is it important to address slavery when discussing the Constitution?
- What questions would you like to ask about this topic? What do you want to know more about?