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The first item on the Better World Books 2016 Reading Challenge is […]
Lucia C. Stanton
David Brion Davis
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Informed by the extensive records and accounts of Thomas Jefferson, the book also draws from oral histories of the descendants of former slaves as well as the reminiscences and letters left by men and women who lived in slavery at Monticello. Stanton unveils the lives of the African Americans who experienced bondage on Jefferson's plantations and examines the wide variety of ways in which individuals responded to their situation, whether as "trusty servants," resourceful leaders, or outright rebels. The book also chronicles the many accomplishments of Monticello slaves and their descendants, either during their enslavement, as the creators of hand-crafted furniture in Monticello's joinery and European-inspired cuisine served in the Monticello dining room; or after gaining freedom, as the founders of churches and schools and businesses. The skills practiced at Monticello were carried to all parts of the country, and the fight for education, freedom, and family integrity continued long after they left the mountaintop.
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