The Madison family enslaved over 300 individuals. These enslaved men, women, and children made the Montpelier plantation function, and tended to the most intimate needs of the Madison family. The Atlantic system of race-based slavery dehumanized enslaved people; it broke their bodies and destroyed their families, and denied their most basic human rights. For the enslaved, Madison’s notions of liberty were a dream denied. Montpelier honors the lives of the enslaved through ongoing slavery interpretation and a new groundbreaking exhibition, The Mere Distinction of Colour. Thanks to the active descendant community, whose members have graciously shared their family’s histories with us, we continue to explore ways to tell a more complete American story.