Media: Slideshow

John Washington's Early Life

"Memorys of the past."

This is the opening page of "Memorys of the Past," a narrative written by John M. Washington who was born enslaved in Fredericksburg on May 20, 1838. On this page he describes how, at about the age of two, he was sent with his enslaved mother to a plantation in Orange County, about thirty-seven miles away from Fredericksburg. During the Civil War Washington fled to freedom and in 1873 he wrote this account of his life.

Citation: John Washington Papers, 1858–1865, 1982, Accession #15000. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Original Author: John Washington

Created: 1873

Medium: Slave narrative

Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections

"Memorys of the past," p. 2

John M. Washington, the author of this handwritten narrative, describes his early life as a slave on an Orange County plantation, where he was brought when he was about two years old. Very light complexioned, he recalled that he could be easily mistaken for a "white boy." His enslaved mother, who worked as a field laborer on the plantation, taught her son how to spell. During the Civil War Washington fled to freedom and in 1873 he wrote this account of his life.

Citation: John Washington Papers, 1858–1865, 1982, Accession #15000. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Original Author: John Washington

Created: 1858–1865

Medium: Slave narrative

Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections

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  • "Memorys of the past."

    This is the opening page of "Memorys of the Past," a narrative written by John M. Washington who was born enslaved in Fredericksburg on May 20, 1838. On this page he describes how, at about the age of two, he was sent with his enslaved mother to a plantation in Orange County, about thirty-seven miles away from Fredericksburg. During the Civil War Washington fled to freedom and in 1873 he wrote this account of his life.

    Citation: John Washington Papers, 1858–1865, 1982, Accession #15000. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

    Original Author: John Washington

    Created: 1873

    Medium: Slave narrative

    Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections

  • "Memorys of the past," p. 2

    John M. Washington, the author of this handwritten narrative, describes his early life as a slave on an Orange County plantation, where he was brought when he was about two years old. Very light complexioned, he recalled that he could be easily mistaken for a "white boy." His enslaved mother, who worked as a field laborer on the plantation, taught her son how to spell. During the Civil War Washington fled to freedom and in 1873 he wrote this account of his life.

    Citation: John Washington Papers, 1858–1865, 1982, Accession #15000. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

    Original Author: John Washington

    Created: 1858–1865

    Medium: Slave narrative

    Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections