NBC12 Viewpoint: Paradox of Liberty - Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello

Published: Jan. 18, 2020 at 10:25 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”

I think you know who wrote those words, yes it was Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson also said that, “slavery was an abominable crime”.

Starting on Jan. 18, you can see the exhibition “Paradox of Liberty: Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello” at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. This joint project with Monticello is the largest exhibition that the museum has undertaken.

This is an extraordinary traveling exhibit and one that you do not want to miss. For many of us, this may be the first time that you will be able to see and learn about the untold story of enslaved families at Monticello. Jefferson was a complicated man and the paradox of his life is that although he said that slavery was a crime, there were 607 enslaved people of African descent at Monticello during Jefferson’s life.

This exhibit contains 340 objects, artifacts and text panels that bring to life the story of 6 enslaved families who were an important part of Monticello and Virginia history. We are fortunate to have this nationally recognized exhibition that has traveled to cities like Dallas, Detroit and Washington D.C.

As I toured this exhibition this week, I was once again reminded that so much history is missing from many of the traditional history books and why it is important that we continue to research, ask questions and grow in our knowledge of American history.

So take the trip and experience something that doesn’t come along too often.

Find more information here.

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