Memorys of the past
Original Author: John Washington
Created: 1858–1865
Medium: Slave narrative

“Memorys of the past.”

John M. Washington, the author of this handwritten narrative, describes his early life as an enslaved person on an Orange County plantation, where he was brought when he was about two years old. Very light-complexioned, he recalled that he could be easily mistaken for a "white boy." His enslaved mother, who worked as a field laborer on the plantation, taught her son how to spell. During the Civil War, Washington fled to freedom, and in 1873 he wrote this account of his life.

Citation: John Washington Papers, 1858–1865, 1982, Accession #15000. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.