New York Times Feature July 8, 2019

Audra Burch, an enterprise reporter for the New York Times, along with photographer Miranda Barnes, visited Charlottesville Virginia in August 2018 to learn more about the research behind Take Them in Families.

They stayed for several days meeting with us, and also with Sara Bon-Harper and other Highland staff, and members of the Monroe family, as well as paying several visits to Middle Oak Baptist Church in Blenheim.

Ms. Burch followed our work for almost a year, staying in touch with frequent questions about developments in our research. Her article, which appeared on the front page in the July 8, 2019 edition of the Times (and continued on a full page inside), is the result – an in-depth description of the stories that have come together as our work has progressed: the story of the Casa Bianca plantation in Florida, James Monroe’s Highland in Albemarle County, Virginia, the enslaved at these plantations, and the two churches and communities that were formed by their emancipated survivors.

This article engendered not only a lively online discussion on the Times website, but more importantly for us, has also resulted in very valuable contacts with other researchers and family historians. The complete article is online at

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