On January 15, 2827, Thomas Jefferson's estate sale began at Monticello, resulting in the sale of more than 100 enslaved men and women. The impetus for the sale was simple: Jefferson’s enormous debt. As was customary at the time, Jefferson's debt became the responsibility of his heirs—and a living nightmare for the men, women, and children held in bondage who knew they would be sold to cover that debt.

Learn more in this video featuring Niya Bates.


This video was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.