Slate Podcasts

4: The Family Life of Enslaved People

4: The Family Life of Enslaved People

This episode was originally released in 2015. In Episode 4 of the History of American Slavery, hosts Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie explore the shape of family life on the slave plantations of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They make a case study of one famous plantation, Monticello, the Virginia estate owned by Thomas Jefferson. Then they take a closer look at how slavery tore families apart, and the emotional history of that trauma. They begin their conversation by remembering the life of Joseph Fossett (1780–1858), a Monticello blacksmith. Upon Jefferson’s death, his last will and testament granted freedom to Fossett, but not to Fossett’s family. It would be 10 years before Joseph could reunite with his wife and 10 children. See this episode's complete show notes. This series was made possible by Slate Plus members. To support more work like this at Slate, sign up for Slate Plus now.

Duration: 58 min

Release Date:

Share part or all of the audio of this episode