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Sixty Slaves for Sale: Reckoning with Enslavement in the Shenandoah Valley Conference

Sixty Slaves for Sale: Reckoning with Enslavement in Shenandoah Valley
Saturday, October 26, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Laurel Ridge Community College, Carl and Emily Thompson Conference Center, Corron Community Development Center, 173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645

In the September 8, 1824 issue of the Daily National Intelligencer, Isaac Hite Jr. of Belle Grove placed this ad. While it is not known which enslaved people were sold, a careful review of the Hites’ records reveals who may have been in this group. It is also not yet known who may have purchased these men, women, and children or where they went.

Saturday, October 26, 2024, will be the 200th anniversary--to the day--of this sale. Belle Grove Plantation is partnering with its Middletown neighbor, Laurel Ridge Community College, to acknowledge this terrible event and to use it as an educational opportunity. 

We invite you to attend a one-day conference to bring attention to the history of enslavement in the Shenandoah Valley. The word "reckoning" in the title of the conference indicates that this a process and starting point in addressing this hard history. 

Calvin Schermerhorn will open the conference with an analysis of what the sale advertisement explains about enslavement in the Shenandoah Valley.  Speakers will then address how individuals and institutions are reckoning with this hard history today. Rebecca Davis, of the Montpelier Foundation will discuss her work with the Montpelier Descendants Committee to develop and implement a memorial dedicated to the over 250 enslaved individuals who lived there.

A panel discussion with three speakers will discuss how African American historical and genealogical research can empower and heal on institutional, community, and personal levels. It will be moderated by Michael L. Blakey, National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology, Africana Studies, and American Studies, and Founding Director of the Institute for Historical Biology at William & Mary. The three panelists are: Jane Ailes, a professional genealogist and historian whose most recent project includes the Virginia Emigrants to Liberia website; Lisa Johnson, genealogist and administrator of Facebook Group African American Descendants of Warren County, Virginia on Facebook; and Shelley Murphy, Descendant Project Researcher for the Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Virginia. Click here for biographies of all the speakers. 

This conference is open to the public, and students are particularly encouraged to attend. Individuals and community groups are invited to have information tables or posters to share resources and information with attendees. Community networking is one of the many goals of the event.

REGISTRATION IS COMING SOON!  Registation is $20 and lunch is included in the registration fee.

Lunch Menu from Hittin' the Spot Catering
Fried Chicken 
Macaroni and Cheese
Green Beans
Dinner Rolls
Garden Salad
Sweet Tea
Unsweet Tea

The conference will be held in Carl and Emily Thompson Conference Center at Laurel Ridge Community College at 173 Skirmisher Lane Middletown, VA 22645. The facility is handicapped accessible.


Shenandoah County Historical Society John H. Adamson Memorial Fund