Brett Zongker, ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The first log slave quarters with dirt floors to be rebuilt at Thomas Jefferson’s home were formally unveiled Saturday at Monticello, and descendants of more than 100 slaves from the third president’s plantation marked the occasion in Virginia.
Re-creating structures to represent slave life at the home of the author of the Declaration of Independence is part of a larger restoration effort underway to show a fuller history at Monticello. In addition, nine rooms on the upper floors of the mansion that were previously empty have now been furnished to give visitors a deeper look at Jefferson’s family and what life was like in 1809.
The project was launched two years ago with a $10 million gift from Washington philanthropist David Rubenstein. On Friday night, Rubenstein announced a second $10 million gift to continue the work of restoring slave sites along the plantation’s Mulberry Row and refreshing some of the iconic rooms in Jefferson’s home.