Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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CBS, NPR, Times feature President Madison slave’s descendants

Montpelier, the Orange County home of James and Dolley Madison, has received major national news coverage of the remarkable story of President Madison’s enslaved manservant, Paul Jennings.

On Monday evening, Katie Couric ended the CBS Evening News broadcast with White House correspondent Bill Plante’s story about Paul Jennings, who was the first person to write about his experiences as a slave working in the White House, and later purchased his own freedom from U.S. Sen. Daniel Webster.

Dr. Beth Taylor of Montpelier, who has ed research efforts into Jennings’ life, arranged for his descendants to get a private tour of the White House on Monday. In the East Room of the mansion, they gazed upon the famed George Washington portrait that their ancestor helped save on Aug. 24, 1814–195 years ago to the day–before advancing British troops burned the Executive Mansion. 

Jennings was profiled in Sunday’s Free Lance-Star:

NPR’s All Things Considered aired its own story Monday on Jennings’ descendant Raleigh Marshall, who spoke at Montpelier on Constitution Day last September as the National Trust for Historic Preservation unveiled its years-long, multi-million-dollar restoration of James and Dolley Madison’s residence.

See the NPR blog at:

Listen to the NPR broadcast at:

The New York Times had the first recent piece on Jennings, a week ago Sunday:

The National Trust’s Historic Sites blog has more on the news coverage of this amazing American tale: