Before the living history museum of Colonial Williamsburg started its concerted interpretation of slavery in 1979, the African American coachmen were already representing the past and implicating black history and slavery in this restored eighteenth-century capital of Virginia. Various records of photographs, postcards, letters, newspaper clippings, oral history accounts, visitor observations, and corporate papers provide a window to understand the social climates of the museum’s period in the 1930s to the 1970s. This body of evidence supports the contention that the coachmen were visible and influenced public history within and outside the museum.

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