Groundbreaking Exhibition on Slavery, Coming to the African American Museum in Dallas

From slavery to freedom

Image courtesy of the African American Museum

Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty is coming to the African American Museum, Dallas in historic Fair Park (3536 Grand Ave. in Dallas) from September 22 to December 31, 2018.

Dallas will be the first city to host the updated touring exhibition, which brings to life the story of slavery at Monticello through more than 300 objects, works of art, documents and artifacts unearthed at the storied plantation.

“The integrity and quality of this exhibition are stellar, and it’s a tremendous privilege for the African American Museum, Dallas to partner with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello,” says Dr. Harry Robinson, Jr., president and CEO of the African American Museum, Dallas. “We are excited to welcome not only visitors – but thousands of schoolchildren – to come learn about this significant period in our country’s history.”

Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty is an exhibition that uses Monticello, the home and plantation of Thomas Jefferson, to explore the dilemma of slavery and the lives of the enslaved families and their descendants. The exhibition presents Monticello as a microcosm of the American story – a lens through which to understand the complicated dynamics of America’s founding, and the ways in which the legacies of slavery continue to shape the nation.

The exhibition features new items never seen outside of Monticello, including a special feature on Sally Hemings, one of the most famous African American women in American history. As an enslaved woman at the age of 16, Hemings negotiated with one of the most powerful men in the nation, ensuring she would receive “extraordinary privileges” and achieve freedom for her children. Jefferson fathered at least six children with Hemings, four of whom survived to adulthood.

Thomas Jefferson’s iconic words in the Declaration of Independence – “all men are created equal” – inaugurated a new nation defined by principles of freedom and self-government, while a fifth of the population remained enslaved. Jefferson called slavery “an abominable crime,” yet he owned 607 people over the course of his lifetime. Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello brings individuals and families out of the shadows of chattel slavery, pulling from more than 50 years of archaeology, documentary research and oral histories to fill in the critical human dimension missing from many resources on slavery in the United States. Through the exhibition, visitors “meet” members of six families who lived and labored at Monticello, as well as their descendants. Their family stories form a narrative arc from slavery to freedom that reflects the trajectory of the nation at large – an ongoing journey to realize the foundational promise that “all men are created equal.”

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors (65 and older), $5 for children 4-12, and free for children 3 and under. Also, admission will be free on Thursdays only for seniors 65 and older. African American Museum members are free.

For details and to purchase individual, group and school field-trip tickets, please go to MonticelloinDallas.com. (Tickets also may be purchased at the Museum.)

From Sept. 22-27, and Oct. 22-Dec. 31, 2018, the African American Museum will be open Sunday through Friday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. During the State Fair of Texas (Sept. 28-Oct. 21), the Museum will be open daily from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., except for Oct. 6 and Oct. 20, when the Museum will be open from 3-7 p.m. The Museum will be closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Groups of 10 or more may request docent-led tours of the permanent collection or special exhibitions. Availability varies and arrangements must be made at least three weeks in advance.  Call 214-565-9026, ext. 307.

For tickets and the latest information, go to MonticelloinDallas.com. For additional information about Monticello, go to its companion site at Monticello.org/Slavery-at-Monticello and download the app – Monticello at Mulberry Row – at the App Store or Google Play.

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