It is impossible to understand Martha Washington without appreciating the importance of slavery in her life. In the Virginia society in which she lived, slaves provided the most crucial source of labor in the economy, a significant portion of a person’s wealth, and a visible symbol of a family’s social status. Martha lived and worked beside slaves, and the sewing implements shown here will help understand the connection between Martha's lifestyle and the labor of the slaves at Mount Vernon.

You may click on the movie frame below to view a short film about Martha Washington and Slavery.