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25 years of Getting Word


On December 28, 1993, Monticello Getting Word historians Lucia "Cinder" Stanton, Dianne Swann-Wright, and Beverly Gray traveled to Chillicothe, Ohio to interview five members of the Pettiford family—three of whom were descendants of Madison Hemings.

Since then, Getting Word staff have traveled more than 40,00 miles—across the United States and as far as Liberia—to interview more than 200 descendants. The stories handed down over eight generations have helped us to better understand life at Monticello two hundred years ago, and to illuminate the lives of the descendants of enslaved people in America.

Read, hear, and watch excerpts from these interviews at


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