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Enslaved at The Georgetown Hotel

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

Uncle Bobby told me that generations of his family had resided in Georgetown. I decided to learn more about them.

The petitions of the 1862 District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act petitions informed me that three generations of Uncle Bobby's ancestors were enslaved by the owner of The Georgetown Hotel. Constructed in 1796, the historically significant federal-style brick building that housed the hotel still stands on M Street. It is now home to the City Tavern Club.

I presented the results of my research to Uncle Bobby. Many months later, his daughter and I went to the City Tavern to share the findings. The new information was received with great interest; I was invited to present this history to the club's members and public. That invitation encouraged me to dig deep into the holdings of the D.C. archives for more information. In February of this year, I gave my talk to an audience of nearly 100 guests of the City Tavern Club.

I have been invited by Tudor Place of Georgetown, as part of their Landmark Lecture series, to reprise the presentation. You are invited to attend, via Zoom video-teleconference. Please register and join on September 22 at 6:30 pm to hear the story of generations of the Clarke family of Georgetown, enslaved and emancipated. The talk includes a description of the treasure trove of information about the enslaved and enslavers available in the petitions and the D.C. archives. Here is the link to register.

Sadly, this time my lecture will be in memoriam to dear Uncle "Bobby" who joined the ancestors on July 30 of this year. Rest in Power and Peace, Harold J. Clarke, 1930-2020. Thank you for the memories and the wisdom you shared.


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