Parents' Guide to

Slavery at Monticello: Life and Work at Mulberry Row

By Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Engrossing images and audio reveal untold stories.

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As it explores an actual historical site, this resource addresses the brutality and complexity of slavery and explores the problematic, often-troubling legacy of Thomas Jefferson's slave ownership. The narrators use the term "enslaved people" rather than "slaves," and there's a focus on the nuance, details, and challenges of these individuals' lives. It's a tough thing to do well, and the developers and historians do an admirable, sensitive job of addressing these problematic issues and exploring them. For instance, there's an audio excerpt titled "A Continuum of Power" that addresses how Sally Hemings, as a slave, would have been unable to refuse Jefferson, and that women in general were seen as inferior to men. Though the stories and images are strong, more links out to primary source documents and more opportunities to engage with the content would take this app to the next level. Users can share that they're using the app via social media or email, but it would be even better if they could share more about their experience and reflect on it more deeply: Some kind of forum or space for reflection and discussion would help this app more successfully and more sustainably begin a powerful dialogue.

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