After 191 Years, A Reunion.

On July 23, 2019 members of the Monroe family of Albemarle County met a descendant of a family sold by James Monroe to Casa Bianca plantation in Florida in 1828.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Sara Bon-Harper, Executive Director of James Monroe Highland.

Over the course of our research, our objectives morphed several times into broader goals. What began as a project to ascertain whether the enslaved families Monroe sold to Joseph White could be traced in Florida became a determination to locate any living descendants of these families. Upon the realization that many of these descendants still lived near the town of Monticello, it became apparent that this community should be reunited with the descendant community in Albemarle County, Virginia, as these two groups of people lived together at Highland until 1828.

During the discussion portion of our presentation in Monticello, Florida in September 2018, a woman asked whether we had further information on her family line. At that time we didn’t, but eight months later Miranda found the familial connection between the woman and an enslaved family Monroe sold to Florida. Miranda contacted her, and this ultimately led to an event we never envisioned when we began this project – a reunion of the Florida descendants and the Albemarle descendants in 2019, after 191 years of separation from each other.

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