ENSLAVED AT THE GEORGETOWN HOTEL
Slavery, Emancipation, Freedom, Resilience
Enslaved at the Georgetown Hotel tells the 100-year story (1824 -1926) of three generations enslaved by Eleanor Lang, the owner of the Georgetown Hotel, a historically significant building constructed in 1796, now known as the City Tavern. The lecture explains how the owner leveraged human property for financial gains, including increase, mortgage, collateral, insurance, and hiring out. It also explains the 1862 District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act and its petition process. This case study demonstrates the wealth of historical and genealogical information that can be gleaned from the compensation petitions and the records referenced in the petitions. Using a variety of other sources, the presentation charts the emancipated family's path to join Georgetown’s African American middle class and their interaction with other historic institutions. The presentation reviews the political, social, and economic context of their lives in the District of Columbia, thereby illustrating the life elements of the family’s contemporaries, including the Lang family. It also serves as a guide to help others do their own research.
Yvette LaGonterie is an independent historian, genealogist, and writer. She is a frequent speaker to D.C. and national audiences. Ms. LaGonterie has been published in the Annals of Genealogical Research, Your Genealogy Today, Salon magazine, and several other publications. She is a Director on the Board of the City Tavern Preservation Foundation, Vice Chair of the Board of Reading Partners DC, Chair of the Advisory Board of MIRR Alliance, and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Pan American Development Foundation. She is an active member of the Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society; the Association for Study of African American Literature and History; and the National Genealogical Society.