In honor of Black History Month, we’re sharing Ask a Slave, a series of short interviews with Lizzie Mae, “personal housemaid to President and Lady Washington.” It’s based on the experiences of Azie Dungey, who was an interpreter at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon. She wrote, produced, and created these videos as a way to, “present all of the most interesting, and somewhat infuriating encounters that I had, the feelings that they brought up, and the questions that they left unanswered. I do not think that Ask A Slave is a perfect way to do so, but I think that it is a fun, and a hopefully somewhat enriching start.” Although Dungey portrays an enslaved African servant, many of her experiences are shared by others who interpret historic sites, no matter the period or topic. For those of us working at historic sites, they’re incredibly funny but they also reveal some of the challenges we have interpreting other times and places. You’ll want to look at some the comments on YouTube to get the full national scope, plus take a look at the number of views to get a sense of the impact.
Dungey is currently working in Los Angeles on another series, although focused on the 19th century. Can’t wait to see what she produces.