Our perception of life at Monticello has changed dramatically over the past quarter century. The image of an estate presided over by a benevolent Thomas Jefferson has given way to a more complex view of Monticello as a working plantation, the success of which was made possible by the work of slaves. At the center of this transition has been the work of Lucia """"Cinder"""" Stanton, recognized as the leading interpreter of Jefferson's life as a planter and master and of the lives of his slaves and their descendants. This volume represents the first attempt to pull together Stanton's most important writings on slavery at Monticello and beyond.
Stanton's pioneering work revealed Jefferson's psychology in crucial ways, deepening our understanding of him without demonizing him. Perhaps even more important is the light her writings have shed on the lives of the slaves at Monticello. Her detailed reconstruction for modern readers of the life of the slave is more than vivid; it reveals an active role in the creation of Monticello and a dynamic community previously unimagined. The essays collected here address Jefferson and the lives of his slaves from a rich variety of perspectives, from family histories (including the Hemingses) to the temporary slave community at Jefferson's White House to stories of former slaves' lives after Monticello. Each piece is characterized by Stanton's deep knowledge of her subject and by her determination to do justice to both Jefferson and his slaves.
Preparation of this volume has been supported by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 551 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 23 mm
I have great admiration for these varied pieces, and the title essay is simply magisterial. I doubt it will ever be bettered. It is a remarkably empathetic piece, recovering the inner world of slaves and their myriad connections to their owner.--Philip D. Morgan, Johns Hopkins University, author of African American Life in the Georgia Lowcountry: The Atlantic World and the Gullah Geechee
Invaluable--New York Times