Yesterday was Robert Carter Day. (I don’t think anyone celebrates this holiday, but I thought I would give it a ceremonial feel anyway). On September 5, 1791, Carter, a Virginia planter, freed all of his slaves. Warren Throckmorton and Fred Clark have written posts to commemorate Carter’s decision to emancipate his enslaved laborers at Nomini Hall, Virginia, but if you want to learn more about Carter, I also recommend Andrew Levy’s The First Emancipator: The Forgotten Work of Robert Carter, the Founding Father Who Freed His Slaves.
Readers of this blog may know that in 1773 Carter hired a New Jersey tutor and recent College of New Jersey (at Princeton) graduate to educate his children at Nomini Hall. The tutor’s name was Philip Vickers Fithian and he was the subject of my first book, The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America. The book contains a chapter on Fithian’s experience on the Carter plantation.
Happy Robert Carter Day–one day late!