Unlike many Black people, the residents of Monroetown, VA can directly trace their roots back to their enslaved ancestors.
In fact, they don’t have to go far. It’s only about 10 miles to Highland - the former estate of America’s fifth President, James Monroe, which is now a museum.
Like the other Founding Fathers, Monroe owned hundreds of slaves. The Highland Museum has mostly ignored this embarrassing truth - until now.
That’s because some of the descendants of the people enslaved at Highland, including George Monroe, Jr. - who grew up in a homestead built by his great-great grandfather Ned, a child of Monroe’s slaves - decided to confront their legacy head-on by engaging with the museum.
George now collaborates with the museum - as well as with Montpilier, Thomas Jefferson’s plantation-turned-museum - to better teach the true history of slavery.
Due to the current-day Monroes’ advocacy, the museum is being updated to reflect the truth, and is collaborating with the descendants to keep the legacy authentic.
Only when we tell the truth of American history will this country move forward - and this is an important step in the right direction!