Educated in Tyranny: Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's University
University of Virginia Press, 2019 - Biography & Autobiography - 259 pages
From the University of Virginia's very inception, slavery was deeply woven into its fabric. Enslaved people first helped to construct and then later lived in the Academical Village; they raised and prepared food, washed clothes, cleaned privies, and chopped wood. They maintained the buildings, cleaned classrooms, and served as personal servants to faculty and students. At any given time, there were typically more than one hundred enslaved people residing alongside the students, faculty, and their families. The central paradox at the heart of UVA is also that of the nation: What does it mean to have a public university established to preserve democratic rights that is likewise founded and maintained on the stolen labor of others?
In Educated in Tyranny, Maurie McInnis, Louis Nelson, and a group of contributing authors tell the largely unknown story of slavery at the University of Virginia. While UVA has long been celebrated as fulfilling Jefferson's desire to educate citizens to lead and govern, McInnis and Nelson document the burgeoning political rift over slavery as Jefferson tried to protect southern men from anti-slavery ideas in northern institutions. In uncovering this history, Educated in Tyranny changes how we see the university during its first fifty years and understand its history hereafter.