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A Former Plantation Begins To Tell A Fuller Story Of Slavery In America

At a plantation once owned by James Monroe, America's fifth president, descendants of slaves owned by Monroe have become part of the story for the first time in 225 years.
The entrance to Highland, the former plantation once owned by James Monroe, America's fifth president. The descendants of the African-Americans once enslaved on the plantation have become part of the story given out by guides. Source: Jordy Yager for NPR

Just outside Charlottesville, Va., the roads lose their markings as they wind through the woods, passing an occasional church, a cemetery and a plantation known as Highland, owned by America's fifth president James Monroe. For the first time in its 225-year history, the site has begun telling the stories of the African-American men and women who were enslaved there, and consulting with their descendants.

One of those descendants is George Monroe, Jr. As a kid, Monroe, Jr. remembers his father driving these roads to visit relatives who have lived for generations in an area they called Monroetown. On their way,

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