There is a little restaurant on Duke Street near my home. It is about half a mile from the US Courthouse that you all have seen on television in connection with the Moussawi trial, etc. That is the modern new building with a magnificent statue of blind justice projecting from the gallery over the front door.
I sometimes have breakfast in the restaurant. Next to this little place is a modern office building and an 18th Century house which shows clearly in photographs of this area during the WBS. There was a Union Army garrison on Shuter's Hill a few hundred yards away and just near my house. There is a striking bronze statue of two women besde the restaurant. I went to look at this statue a few days ago. It is set back from the street.
All that is inscribed on the prediment is, "The Edmondson Sisters." I had never heard of them. Having read their story in this wiki, I am struck by the extent to which it is indicative of the complex status of people of color in the Upper South before the WBS.
Their father was a free man of color and a landowner in Maryland. Their mother was a slave who did not belong to her husband. According to Maryland law the children of a female slave were slaves. If their mother had been free, they would have been free people. Their owner hired them out to work as domestics in some elite house in Washington. This would have been the home of some business or government person. Hiring slaves out became a common practise in the 19th Century because there were quite a lot of people who were suitable to be house servants; maids, cooks, butlers, coachmen, etc., or were skilled craftsmen; carpernters, coopers, blacksmiths and the like. The slave and the owner usually shared the wages paid. Sometimes the slave's portion was used to buy freedom. The girls, having been raised in freedom in fact if not in law on their father's farm understandably did not like their status as domestic servants and slaves. They tried to escape, were captured and sold to a slave trading company based in Alexandria. After much travail their father and various Nrthern abolitionists raised enough money to buy them from the slave trading company. They became quite educated and led productive and hopefully happy lives.
If you wrote the kind of fiction that I write you would find this interesting. pl