Several members of the enslaved community at Monticello became free men and women. Freedom from slavery could be granted, purchased, or earned by means of escape. A slave who was "given his time" achieved an "unofficial" freedom.
Thomas Jefferson granted freedom to seven enslaved men. Two men were freed during Jefferson's lifetime and five were freed by the terms of Jefferson's will. All seven were skilled tradesmen, ideally capable of finding employment as freed men.
During Jefferson's lifetime, three enslaved members of the Hemings family were allowed to leave Monticello without pursuit. No known records document the departure of other slaves without pursuit. Additionally, some slaves successfully escaped from Monticello despite pursuit.
About 200 slaves were sold at estate sales after Jefferson's death. Some of the slaves sold from Monticello eventually acquired freedom.
The lists below provide the names of enslaved members of the Monticello community who are known to have achieved freedom. The dates of the person's life span are provided where available.
Our new app, available for iOS and Android devices, introduces visitors to the individuals who lived and worked on Mulberry Row, once the industrial hub and “Main Street” of Thomas Jefferson’s 5,000-acre plantation. Free wifi is available on site.