ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) – The National Park Service and the nonprofit that runs the historic Mount Vernon estate are acknowledging an aspect of U.S. history that doesn’t show up in most textbooks: The family tree of America’s first family has been biracial from its earliest branches.
President George Washington and first lady Martha Custis Washington had no children together, but they adopted her grandson, George Washington Parke Custis. The young man they called “Wash” grew up at Mount Vernon, where it was long rumored he fathered children with slaves.
The Park Service recognized his paternity in June in re-enacting the 1821 wedding of Custis’ illegitimate daughter, Maria Carter. Meanwhile, a new Mount Vernon exhibition will say Custis likely fathered a girl named Lucy with another slave.