tv Mulberry Row at Thomas Jeffersons Monticello CSPAN April 16, 2017 10:35am-11:06am EDT
i have covered national security affairs for over 30 years, been all over the world covering these issues. i think it is a reflection of the information age that we are looking at this new form of warfare, that i called information warfare. cyberne that as technical that we have seen so much of from the russians and chinese as influencee content type of thing, which emerged in the last election with the enabled with the cyber influence operations. these are going to be a dominant form of warfare. tonight atter words 9:00 p.m. eastern. restoration at monticello is uncovering the story of slaves who lived and worked here.
american history tv is getting a behind-the-scenes look at that restoration. >> if you have visited monticello, say 20 years ago, you would have just seen jeffersons beautiful neoclassical villa. we wanted to change that. we wanted to restore the landscape of slavery. if you came up in jefferson time, the first thing you would see would be enslaved people. there would be no place on this mountain top that slavery was not visible. we want to restore that, make that known to visitors who come here today. we are now in the middle of
re-creating or restoring dwellings along mulberry row, that main avenue of the plantation. effortthis is part of an to shift the focus away from justin jefferson and talk about -- from just jefferson and talk about all the people that made life here possible. jeffersons main house, the palladium mansion he built throughout his life. we are standing next to mulberry row, the main plantation street. through archaeology and documentary research, we know over 20 workshops, storehouses, windwellings blindness -- this street. there were indentured servants,
slaves, and a lot of these workshops were overseen by jeffersons white family. this is the heart of monticello. this was a 5000 acre plantation. that is a square miles. this plantation is enormous. the center of activity is right here. if you have been here in jefferson's day, you would have seen carriages, heard the noise of chickens and dogs, smelled smoke in the air, heard hammers and saws. there were dozens of people here, free and enslaved, all working for the plantation. from copious record taking, we know jefferson owned 607 human beings in his lifetime. 130 two 140 time, slaves would have been working
at monticello. that would have been not just the mountaintop but the surrounding farms as well. this was a dynamic and fluid place where enslaved people were coming and going, living in different areas. jefferson interacted with all of them in different ways. it was not like he was isolated on his mountaintop. he used to take daily rides throughout his plantation. not only to remind slaves that also soheir owner, but he had a knowledge of what was going on across these eight square miles. mulberry row was an experiment for jefferson. this was very unique in the larger context of virginia plantations. he wanted it to be an experiment as a way to reform slavery. he wanted to do that by imparting trades to enslaved people. rather than them being unskilled
field laborers, they could come up here and learn a skill, , houseith in, carpentry joining. jefferson considered this an improvement over being out in the field with the crops. if you come here and know that jefferson is the author of the declaration, all men are created equal, you find out he owned 600 slaves, he looks pretty bad. in jeffersons mind, he was not a hypocrite because he believed he was making changes to the institution of slavery that would pave the way for its abolition. ands trying to reform it alleviate material conditions, changing housing, and he believes this is a gradual process that will inevitably result in emancipation down the line. we know more about monticello
than any other plantation in north america. it is the best document it estate. we know more about the enslaved people here than anywhere else. we have been able to put together the most conference of portrait of life for enslaved people during jefferson's time, but beyond that as well. humanens a unique and portrait to what slavery was, both as a horrific and coercive institution, but also as a way of emphasizing the humanity of enslaved people and the fact they were able to preserve themselves and their families even within the bounds of enslavement. sally hemmings was part of a very large family of enslaved people at my cello who numbered at -- at monticello who numbered about 80.
we believe that years after his fatheredath, jefferson six children with sally hemmings, four of whom survived to adulthood. beverly, andn, harriet. it is important to remember that slaves were property. they could be inherited through marriage as well as being bought and sold. when jefferson married his wife martha in 1772, she was the daughter of a wealthy slave trader. it was through him that jefferson inherited 135 slaves, and sally hemmings was one of those. she was not born at monticello. she was born on the eastern shore. she arrived here in about 1773. sally hemmings is a person stranded in -- shrouded in
mystery. there are only four references to her that exist. jefferson himself never wrote about her explicitly. she remains this mysterious figure. i think it is important to emphasize that she was related to jefferson's wife. jeffersonstha half-sister. she may have even resembled jefferson's wife. up a84, jefferson took post as a trade ambassador. he was trying to forge treaties with the french and other countries so the new u.s. could survive. he wanted to have his daughters with him. he wanted to have martha and mariah, his youngest daughter. orwanted and enslaved woman
girl to accompany mariah on the long passage across the atlantic. it was the young sally hemmings paris.ompanied mariah to sally hemmings lived with jefferson and his two daughters in paris. that may have been the beginning of their relationship or however you want to describe it. according to sally hemmings's son, she became pregnant by jefferson in paris. it was there that she extracted in important promise, and that was if she returned to virginia and for the child, in the future all of her children would be free. this is a huge decision for her. when she was on french soil, she was considered free.
if she remained in paris, she could have been a free person. of what we think transpired, she came back here, and when jefferson died, all of those children were free. and thomasngs jefferson controversy, that has been going on for over 200 years. do in thewe want to current initiative that we are embarking on is to focus on sally hemmings herself. we want to divide her from thomas jefferson and that controversy and focus on her as a person. i think in this 200 year debate, she has always been a foil for jefferson. she has never been seen in her own life. -- restoreor stir
her humanity. >> we believe this space or the one next to it to the west. you can imagine sally hemmings here with her children, perhaps mending clothes or cooking the last meal of the day or sharing stories of the day. typical family activities that would have gone on in this day. me what you see is the restoration of monticello's south wing. this was built in 1802. it held a lot of domestic servant spaces. after jefferson died and monticello was sold, it was rebuilt a couple of times in the 19th century. in the 1940's, the thomas jefferson foundation restored the south wing to what they thought was its best appearance.
i've only did they restore the kitchen and cooks round, but they put bathrooms into what were slave quarters. it is much of this material we have been removing, and we are now at the point where we are restoring the spaces to a more accurate representation. we know that because there is physical evidence as well as documentary evidence that tells us specifically what jefferson wanted. he even draws up a plan to scale for the southwest. it shows exactly how big the rooms were and what they were used for. -- we know what space was the slave quarters. we were able to find physical traces of where these walls would have been placed. we can put them back accurately. on the chimney stack, we have remains of plaster that we know was there in jefferson's time
because he talks about asking his workmen to plaster this space. we believe this is perhaps the afferson era hearth where slave family would have warmed themselves. there is wonderful evidence of what the floors would look like. it is a small detail. we are dedicated to getting as possible.curate as along this wall, you see the 1802 breaks. they are late on edge, urges particular. are of theaks that same size, and we will lay them in the same way. there is evidence of where the partitions were that divided the spaces. you can see where the carpenters have aligned with what we call an architectural goat.
here is where a stud would have sat upon the stone wall, and this was plastered and whitewashed. what is left is this gap in the finish that tells us where the stud would have been. canted.see this wall is we have a ghost on the other side of the fireplace that shows where the wall would have sat. even though a typical carpenter would love a nice straight well, we are putting it back out of square because that is what the evidence is telling us it was. company istoration putting up the timber frame. we know the size from jefferson's documents. they should be four by three inches.
these craftsmen have prepared everything off site like they would have done in the 18th century. everything is brought on-site and put up. the more thisng is, securing everything. brick is the next step for the slave quarters. we are in the south pavilion seller. -- cellar. this was finished by 1770. the space was originally the kitchen. we are standing for feet above the original floor level. why that is is because jefferson raises before level in 1809 after he builds the south wing and turns this into a wash house when the larger kitchen was
built to the east. the amazing thing in this space, not just that it has survived, but that earlier kitchen survived intact underneath this great fill. it has a lot of artifacts mixed into it. all of that draft they are bringing in with the dirt is coming from somewhere where archaeologists are able to find .mazing pieces of ceramic a lot of great artifacts that will give us the sense of how people lived on the mountain top. in addition, they also found evidence of this kitchen. there is evidence it changed over time. we come down upon the original fireplace where he and his wife lived in the room above before
the main house was ready. that was uncovered as well as a , which was ave high style kitchen appliance. that is where jefferson cooked his french cuisine. we suspected that he had a stew stove. we were not sure. theraws it in a document in 1770's. luckily enough, tremendous evidence survives of this four burner stew stove. right now the archaeologists have removed as much of the material as they are going to for this part of the project. they are cleaning up the site for final photos and documentation. you can see them cleaning meticulously, measuring
everything. , and it intense process allows us to gather and report as much information on the site as possible. we expect to complete the exterior by later this spring. the interiors that we are still working on, those should be open to the public by spring of 2018. we finished the restoration of the south wing. we hope visitors will be able to experience more of the slave life of monticello to understand how it functioned in the plantation context. we are very excited about being able to put back sally thisngs's quarter, important person in american history. it is important to rumor that
monticello -- remember that monticello is a plantation. it is eight square miles. the majority of people who live here in his time, most of the labor that went into building this was done by enslaved african-americans. jefferson hired several white workmen, including an irish joiner assisted by several skilled craftsman of the enslaved community. monticello was thomas jefferson's home for his entire life. he was born on this plantation three miles from where he builds this plantation. he inherits it from his father. inherits then, he land as well as the slaves his father owns. jefferson decides to build on this mountain top at a young age.
this was his home his entire life. jefferson is trying to use that plantation to make money like most virginia vacation owners. he has primarily cash crops, tobacco and wheat. he has mixed success turning a profit. on the mountaintop, this is also the center of his home life. throughout his retirement, once the house is complete, this is filled with family members, his daughter martha and her husband. this would have been filled with family. throughout his retirement years, as a public official, and as somebody who gained fame for not only being president but also writing the declaration of independence, he hosted a perpetual round of entertainment. guests would have come in
through this room. they may have had to wait in this hall for a chance to see jefferson. we have a lot of accounts from those guests of their visits. this would have been something new that they did not necessarily expect. one guest referred to the strange furniture of the walls. another guest called this room cluttered. up almostset this like a museum, a cabinet of curiosities. he is filling the room with things he thinks are interesting. also influential people and ideas and the creation of this country. jefferson had maps of all the known continents. specimensural history of animal life in north america. fossilized bones, american indian artifacts would have been displayed here.
diplomatic gifts they exchanged on their way to the pacific ocean and back. he had lots of influential thinkers like will tear -- voltaire. nemesishad his arch hamilton in this hall in which he sat on the opposite side of the room of the lost of them -- of a bust of himself. i like to ask the visitors why they think he had it here. one guest said that it was a political hunting trophy. the dining room is one of the greater spaces at monticello because of the yellow paint on the walls. it would have been located on the north side of the house, the
coldest and darkest side. that is where breakfast would be served each morning, and dinner at 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon. jefferson is famous for his political use of food. when he was president, he would dine inoliticians to small parties at his home. both democratic republicans, his party, and his adversaries, federalists. jefferson used those conversations to talk about politics, but also other things of the day, philosophy, religion. he preferred intimate affairs where conversation could really come to life. the monticello dining room, there are a number of contraptions that would limit the number of enslaved people that would be required to be present.
the food would come in from the side door with revolving shelves. waders were not have to enter an exit the room nonstop. on theuld put the food outside of the room, and the enslaved butler could turn the door and bring the food into the room. the wine cellar is located the room.eneath the wine could be delivered theight up from the side of fireplace. the fireplace. he is using these contraptions to limit the coming and going of enslaved servants, but at the same time there is a lot of evidence going on behind the scenes to make that dinner and engaging conversation taking place possible. house is devoted to private family spaces
and private spaces for jefferson. he had kind of his own private apartment on the south side of the house and it consisted of three separate rooms. or what you would call an office or study, his library and his bedchamber. the bedchamber would have been the most private space of those three. that is where jefferson would wake up in the morning, and he would begin his day with a cold foot bath and begin to read and respond to letters for a few hours before breakfast. it was also where he would return in the evening for a few hours of reading before bed. the other significant thing about jefferson's bedchamber is it is the he passed away at the age of 83. it is one of the more remarkable stories. he do live -- he died on july 4, 1826 which was the 50th
anniversary of the adoption of the declaration of independence, that he was the primary author of. jefferson's death is a very sad time at monticello for many different reasons. he struggled with debt his whole life. he died with about $107,000 in debt, which is many millions of dollars in today's money. the family was unable to keep monticello. they had to sell monticello, land, many furnishings of the home and they had to sell about 130 slaves. one of the slaves on the plantation recalled that jefferson's death was a time of great uncertainty amongst the slave community. thecan imagine that enslaved people here would be worried that his death meant there's -- meant their families would be split apart.
that is what ended up happening in most cases. the 1830's would be bought by one of the first naval officers of jewish faith in the united states. began the family process of tracking down some of the original objects of the home . nephew, at was his man named jefferson monroe levy who sold the property to the thomas jefferson foundation, which continues to own monticello as a nonprofit museum since 1923. one of the things we are striving to bring back to the guest experience is a sense that monticello was more than just they -- more than just a house on a hill. the house is incredibly well preserved and we want people to walk in jefferson's footsteps, but we also want them to understand that monticello
nearly had 200 people living here during jefferson's time and most of them were enslaved. over the past several years, we have been working to restore the landscape of slavery to monticello. when you walk outside the house, you can understand that there was a center of industry and enslaved life, there. if you toured the south wing and you will see that this was a home for the people that jefferson enslaved, as well and that it was their work that made monticello what it was, and in many senses, may jefferson who he was. ien people leave monticello, hope they get a sense of the complexity of jefferson, but also how relevant his story is to the nation that we became. here is the man who wrote all men are created equal, yet was a slaveholder. here is the man who truly
believed that government should be representative of the people, even though he was very much a virginia aristocrat. at the end of the day, jefferson had a very optimistic view of our nation and that we could govern ourselves. i hope people who leave understand that while monticello was jefferson's life work and he was always trying to perfect it, he also viewed the united states as something that would never be perfected and would need continual work and progress. are cities tour staff recently traveled to charlottesville, virginia to learn about its rich history. learn more about charlottesville and other stops in our tour at c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv.
harriet tubman was born a slave in dorchester county, maryland in 1922. she escaped in 1849 but returned many times to help her family and friends escape. the maryland park service and the national park service partnered in creating the harriet tubman underground railroad visitor center located in the county where tubman was born. next, the opening ceremony of the harriet tubman underground railroad visitor center. we hear from state and local officials in commemoration of the abolitionist, humanitarian and civil war spy. it is just over an hour. >> good afternoon. yes, my name is okmofo doctor adwoa tano. it is a pleasure for me to be here to open up today's great occasion with a libation.