AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
GEORGE WASHINGTON BIRTHPLACE VIRGINIA
I am a descendant of Mary, and Patty Bowden who were so-called Mulatto Indentured Servants to George Washingtons family. The Washington Plantation is located in a Rural Area of Westmoreland County Virginia, and calls itself a "Working" Plantation (that probably means that prisoners come and work the fields of the Plantation). The National Park Services is the custodian of the Plantation.
My ancestors Mary (born 1730), and Patty (born 1750), were Identured Servants to Washingtons father Augustine Senior, and brother Augustine Junior. Mary under a thirty year indenture because of their mixed raced status, meaning the mother was white, and their father black, or Native. Mary had Patty while she was still on the Washington Plantation, and thus Patty also came under a thirty year Indenture. Remember that at thiry years a slave was old, and seldom lived to be fifty.
When I found documents proving that my ancestors lived on the Washington Plantation I contacted the Park Services at GWB. I received a great response of several of the Rangers, and a cold one from others. We were able to put together a Commemoration Ceremony in 1999. The then African American Director of the Park Services had diverse, and inclusive programs. The programs included celebrating those who were left out of history. The slaves and servants of GWB were some of those forgotten by history. The ceremony was great, and many people came and share that day with us.
I believed we had opened the channel of communictions, and were moving forward, but that is not to be. Last year I traveled back East to participate in an Exhibit featuring the slaves and servants of GWB.
I sent copies of documents to include in the exhibit, documents which were taken down by a Mr. Martinez the Superintendent. He told me that the documents I sent were not part of the time frame the Exhibit was commorating. I sent documents from the 1700-1800. This year 2003) he is only commemorating Frederick Douglass for Black History month. This is in keeping with the old attitude of not commemorating any black history prior to the Civil War. The slaves and servants are again invisible, only there to serve, and not to be seen or heard from.
However, that is only for the moment because I (Anita Wills) have several articles, a book, and a radio interview coming out. Everyone out there in Afrigeneas land is going to hear the name of Mary and Patty Bowden. Thanks to all of your for your support of my efforts.