There has always been a stigma around owning slaves. Even large plantation owners knew holding humans in bondage was "wrong" (a loaded term we won't unpack here) and it was also incredibly expensive, requiring a huge investment and a bit of a gamble. But what was a small(er) farmer or a family in town to do if they just needed a little extra help, without the negative implications of purchasing a human being? They rented one, of course.
Please note: the author is not implying that the rental of enslaved persons was in any way less immoral than outright purchasing one. We are discussing this through a historic context, and it should remain thus.
We have a new exhibit coming! Thanks to COVID, we're exploring a digital route. This format will not only make our exhibit available for anyone with web access, but it also doesn't have to be taken down every 3 months for care and maintenance. We're very excited to explore the potential for future exhibits! Because the formatting has taken up so much of the archivist's time, we've included a link here to preview the progress:
PLEASE NOTE: this is nowhere near the final product! It's simply a little snapshot of where we are in the process of designing an exhibit that spans over 30 years.
Art at the Mill is a huge event that has, in one way or another, touched the lives of many Clarke County residents. We'd love to include your stories, memories, and pictures in our exhibit! If you're interested in sharing, please reach out to our archivist, or comment below!
Melanie is the current archivist for the Clarke County Historical Association, in Berryville, Virginia. She is a graduate from Shepherd University, where she earned a degree in History.