"I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids--and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me."

 - Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man"

West Ford and Priscella Bell

West Ford

A drawing of West Ford around 60 years old by journalist/artist Benson Lossing at the Mount Vernon Plantation in 1859 from the Harper's New Monthly Magazine.  In Lossing...

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2nd Sketch of West Ford

This is a drawing from an unnamed source of an older West Ford from the Ford Archives. Ford again signed his name at the bottom of the sketch. West Ford's name is more than a signature; he...

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Venus

Venus was a handmaid on the Bushfield Plantation.  Bushfield was owed by John Augustine Washington, a brother of George Washington.  As a child, Venus' mother, Jenny, was the...

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William Ford

William Ford, son of West Ford and father of Major George Ford.  William married Henrietta Bruce and the couple had four children: George, John, Constance, and Hannah. William was the...

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George Washington, older

A painting of George Washington around the age of 60. In the Ford oral history, the father of the country was also the father of West Ford and a slave named Venus. For almost 56 years,...

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A Young George Washington

A painting of a young George Washington around 25 years of age. The world into which George Washington was born in 1732 was a comfortable one and wholly dependent on the "peculiar...

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West Ford, young

A drawing was commissioned by the Washington family on West Ford's 21st birthday and emancipation from slavery around 1805. West was born around 1785 or 1786 to Venus, his mother, on the...

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Mount Vernon Plantation in ruin

Photo of the Mount Vernon Plantation when West Ford was a caretaker there. (Photo courtesy of MVLA). Pamela Cunningham founded the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union and wanted...

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West Ford at Mount Vernon

An older picture of West Ford at the Mount Vernon Plantation. Though Ford was free at the time this photo was taken, the legacy of slavery in all it's complications has left its mark deep...

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West Ford's Property

West Ford was willed 160 acres of land adjoining Mount Vernon in 1829, making him the richest black man in Virgina at that time.  He later sold his land and purchased 214 acres adjacent to...

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The Pittsburgh Courier Sat Aug 19 1961

Article stating that West Ford was known as the Negro son of George Washington.

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Article, Fairfax Chronicles

Newspaper article about West Ford from the Fairfax Chronicles, 1986, by Donald Sweig.

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Old Tomb George Washington

Photo of Linda at the old tomb of George Washington on the Mount Vernon plantation. There are two family tombs located at Mount Vernon. The "old tomb" was the original family crypt,...

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Wreath for West

A wreath dedicated to West Ford at the slave cemetery at Mount Vernon. From LABH collection.

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Slave Cemetery Burial Records, page 1

This page shows that  West Ford death, who he was, and the burial grounds of the servants. The Ford family's oral history was that he was placed in the old tomb of George Washington....

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Slave Cemetery Burial Records, page 2

This page of burial records comes from 1929 minutes p. 46 about the graveyard which was used by General Washington for his slaves at Mount Vernon. It delves into how the markers were worn and...

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Slave Cemetery Burial Records, page 3

Entry from Mount Vernon records on slave burials that George Ford visited the plantation in 1929 when two workers were placing the memorial tablet.  The workers stated that Ford told them...

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Slave Cemetery Burial Records, page 4

This is a continuing entry from page 3. It states that George Ford told the two workers at the slave cemetery where the tablet was laid that the burying ground used to have a rail fence around...

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Slave Cemetery Burial Records, page 3

Description taken from records at Mount Veron that George Ford was there in 1929 when the slave memorial marker was place in slave cemetery. They stated that George Ford (son of William Ford...

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