We are two independent researchers who as part of our work as docents at James Monroe’s Highland became interested in the question of the fate of the enslaved people Monroe sold to Joseph M. White, after his sale of the Highland plantation. The Take Them in Families Project was established to answer the question “What happened to the enslaved families President James Monroe sold to Florida in 1828?” While learning more about Casa Bianca plantation, to which the families were sold, the project realized that other enslaved groups labored there. Take Them in Families expanded its focus and now seeks to tell the stories of all those enslaved at Casa Bianca plantation in Jefferson County, Florida.
Miranda Burnett is a historical collection and reference librarian in Charlottesville, Virginia. They are the primary researcher and writer for Take Them in Families. Burnett earned a Masters in French from the University of South Carolina and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Florida State University. They worked as a guide at James Monroe’s Highland and briefly at James Madison’s Montpelier before joining the public library world. Burnett’s work on Take Them in Families carries over into everyday life, where they assist fellow researchers and guide others through the world of archives.
Martin Violette is an independent researcher who lives in Virginia. Violette’s technical skills helped design the original Take Them in Families website and family database. Before retirement, he worked as a part-time guide at James Monroe’s Highland for five years, and previously as a guide for eight years at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Violette holds a Masters in Russian literature from UNC-Chapel Hill, with further work at Cornell University, and independent study of Anglophone and Francophone literature of the Caribbean at Cornell and the University of the West Indies, Trinidad. Violette retired from Take Them in Families in 2023.
The work of other researchers has been very important to us, and we would like to thank Lori Kimball and Wynne Saffer for their Monroe database “References to People Enslaved by President James Monroe.” And we very much would like to express our appreciation of the support and encouragement we have received for this project from Dr. Sara Bon-Harper, Executive Director of James Monroe’s Highland, and Nancy Stetz, Education Programs Manager. It has been essential to our effort.
Our research and this website are not affiliated with or supported by James Monroe’s Highland, or its owner the College of William and Mary.
This work is dedicated to those found and those yet to be found.