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MONTICELLO: The Magazine | Winter 2018

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Look Closer

Highlights of an
Unforgettable Weekend


On June 15 and 16, Monticello hosted Look Closer, a landmark gathering on the mountaintop. The public opening of nearly 30 new and restored spaces and exhibits attracted thousands of guests. Exhibitions, music, reflections, and panel discussions explored Monticello’s decades-long journey to better understand the legacies of both freedom and slavery. The weekend also included celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Getting Word Oral History Project, the successful close of the We Hold These Truths campaign, and the completion of the Mountaintop Project.


As activity swirled around Monticello on June 16, a quieter scene was transpiring just off the beaten path. A stone’s throw from the ardent crowds, a small team of StoryCorps producers conducted interviews, recording intensely personal and heartfelt conversations. Exceptional for their mission to “weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters,” StoryCorps, heard weekly on NPR stations, traveled to Monticello to record conversations between Monticello staff and descendants of the enslaved community.

 “Crazy in that American way”

Gayle Jessup White and her cousin Prinny Anderson describe what it is like for them to be descendants of Thomas Jefferson. They also discuss the different experiences they have had because of the color of their skin — Jessup White is black, and Anderson is white.

 “He's not going to be invisible”

Jacqueline Estes tells her second “daughter” and sorority sister, Niya Bates, about her ancestor Isaac Granger Jefferson, who was an enslaved person at Monticello, and about the emotional impact her family history has had on her.


Look Closer

A Historic Moment for Monticello