The popular portrayal of enslaved persons in the U.S. depicts them laboring in fields on large plantations owned by affluent masters in the Deep South. How slavery manifested itself at Georgetown Visitation, a religious community and school in the District of Columbia, contrasts with this limited view. Here, religious women, who had taken vows of poverty, collectively owned slaves in an urban context. Documents assembled from public repositories and the Georgetown Visitation Monastery Archives tell of enslaved people who were inherited, bought, sold, hired-out, manumitted, or emancipated. This evidence enables a partial recovery of the identities of some of whom the Sisters of the Visitation had enslaved, including their relationships to one another, their literacy levels, and their contributions to the development of the campus's buildings. Their identities and contributions provide a vital context for understanding slavery at Georgetown Visitation from 1800 to 1862, when the federal government abolished slavery in Washington, D.C.


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pp. 23-48
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