Collection: Martha Washington

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was born into Virginia's privileged society in 1731, and throughout her life, she was surrounded by enslaved individuals. Her first husband, Daniel Parke Custis, was a wealthy planter in Virginia, and upon his passing, Martha inherited life rights to one-third of his estate - this included 84 slaves. Upon her marriage to George Washington in 1759, Martha brought many of these enslaved individuals to Mount Vernon. Due to their status as property of the Custis family, they were not legally allowed to be freed or sold, and following Martha's passing, they were inherited by the Custis heirs. Despite owning numerous slaves, Martha did not liberate any of them and expressed displeasure when her slave, Ona Judge, escaped to New Hampshire. It is important to acknowledge Martha's actions as a slave owner and hold her accountable for her participation in the perpetuation of slavery.
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Our Heros Collection

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