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George Washington and Slavery

George Washington once said that slavery was his “only unavoidable subject of regret.” Though he bought and sold slaves during his life and even helped to protect the practice through the U.S. Constitution, many have said that his attitudes changed while commanding both black and white soldiers during the American Revolution, and that in the end, he was a man ahead of his time when it came to slavery.

This week’s show featured a lecture by Henry Wiencek, author of “An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America.” He discussed President Washington’s transformation from a slave owner to a man who freed his slaves upon his death. Wiencek’s lecture is the first in a series this spring, presented by Boston University’s African American studies program.