Trailblazer. Newspaper publisher. Civil rights titan. Meet William Monroe Trotter, one of the most influential descendants of Monticello’s enslaved community—and someone that too many people have never heard of.
Monticello guide Kyle Chattleton looks at the extremely close relationship of Monticello's enslaved joiner John Hemmings and his wife, Priscilla, an enslaved domestic servant owned by Jefferson's son-in-law and at the couple's complex relationship with the Jefferson family.
Music was an important part of life for enslaved people at plantations across the U.S. Monticello guide and musicologist Kyle Chattleton looks at the ways enslaved people here and across the nation used music and at the foundational role they played in creating a distinctly American musical tradition.
Monticello historian Niya Bates describes the Getting Word African American Oral History Project and how it has helped transform interpretive experience at Monticello since its inception in 1993.
Enslaved people did not simply accept the confines of their bondage, and resistance took many forms. An example is found in the story of York, a young man enslaved at Monticello who attempted to escape in 1798.
Monticello guide Sam Riggs looks at how these comrades in revolution became “frenemies” and how they later rekindled their friendship.
Monticello guide Mikey Amos explores the many curiosities of Jefferson's Cabinet office, including the polygraph.
Monticello guide Justin Bates discusses Jefferson's interest in the Louisiana Territory, his hopes for an "Empire of Liberty" across the North American continent, and the Purchase's lasting legacies.
Monticello guide David Thorson looks at how members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition celebrated the holiday season.
Monticello guide Ariel Armenta explores Thomas Jefferson’s intentions for the Corps of Discovery and Merriwether Lewis’s preparations. She also focuses on the diverse character of this Corps, and the Expedition's lasting scientific impacts.
We have several accounts from visitors to Monticello during Jefferson’s lifetime who were surprised and delighted by their time on the mountaintop. Yet… not everyone had such a pleasant experience. Case in point: Anna Maria Thornton’s visit in 1802.
Monticello's Kyle Chattleton discusses one of the few moments in Monticello’s history where an enslaved individual was freed by Jefferson.
A look at the momentous events in the life of Israel Gillette Jefferson who once lived as an enslaved personal servant at Monticello.
Monticello Guide Laura-Michal Balderson discusses Cornelia Jefferson Randolph's relationship with her grandfather, Thomas Jefferson, and highlights her mechanical drawings of the University of Virginia and Monticello's first floor.
Monticello Guide Holly Haliniewski looks at the Levys, who owned and preserved Jefferson's mountaintop for nearly a century. Aired on November 6, 2020.
The Contentious Election of 1800
Historian Edward Larson shares the story of this unprecedented campaign, the surprising results that nearly tore our young nation apart, and the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that ultimately led to the first peaceful transfer of power in American history. Released on November 4, 2020
A Tragic Marriage
Former Monticello Guide Katy Gehred tells the story of the troubled marriage of Jefferson's grandaughter Ann Cary Randolph. Released on October 15, 2020
Thomas Jefferson's Grand Day Out in London
Monticello guide David Thorson details the events of March 21, 1786, a day of shopping and entertainment in London for Thomas Jefferson. Released on September 9, 2020
Helping Jefferson's Words Live On
It's a monumental task. Editing and publishing all of Jefferson's papers following his retirement from the presidency in 1809. Radio producer Sean Tubbs gives us an inside look at the process and talks with J. Jefferson Looney, Editor-in-Chief of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, about the what, why, how, and how long of this consequential project.
(Originally posted on April 10, 2006; approx. 13.75 minutes.)