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246 Years Project: Morven Park Works to Tell the Stories of the Enslaved

15 May 2024 5:15 PM | Anonymous

Their names and stories deserve to be known. That is the foundation of the 246 Years Project started by Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia seven years ago. 

On Monday, the organizers debuted the fruits of that work—an online database that sheds light on the lives of enslaved people whose records of existence were largely limited to property legers from the beginning of African slavery in America in 1619 to emancipation through the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865.  

The announcement was made from the stately, columned portico of the Davis mansion at Morven Park, a building that dates back to the early 1800s when the estate operated with slave labor as a Virginia plantation. At least 81 enslaved people worked on the property, according to records that helped launch the database. 

“It's that part of our history here. That is really the reason, and it was the inspiration for establishing the 246 Years Project,” Morven Park Executive Director and CEO Stacey Metcalfe said. “The 246 Years Project is dedicated to documenting and honoring the millions of enslaved men, women, and children whose names and life stories deserve to be known.”

The project started with Morven Park’s records but expanded to include work conducted by the historical records staff at in the Loudoun County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. And organizers are working for a far broader reach.

“We're hoping that the 246 Years Project will bring to light thousands of untold stories of strength, resilience, and persistence. It's intended to create an opportunity for truth-telling, memorialization, and reconciliation,” Metcalfe said. 

Through the support of donors, she noted, the information will be available free of charge. 

You can read more in an article by Norman K. Styer published in the web site at:

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