These anecdotes demonstrate the extent of the tasks prescribed for the slaves, the constant shuttling back and forth between the hotel and the student rooms, and tension between hotelkeepers and the University administration, between hotelkeepers and students, and between students and slaves.  It is difficult to say which reports are more accurate than others, or perhaps there is an element of truth in each perspective.  Certainly, the students felt entitled to a certain level of service and the frequency of complaints suggests that Edwin Conway was not the most attentive hotelkeeper.  However, the expectations of the hotel service may have been too high given the extent of responsibilities and the restricted number of slaves that could service the dormitories, enforced by the Board of Visitors.  He was also not the only hotelkeeper summoned by the Board of Visitors due to complaints.

These narratives of slavery reveal the heavy workload expected of the slaves and identify two definitive slaves under Edwin Conway's purview: John Taylor and Lawrence.  While the documentary record is far from complete and lacks specific references to the treatment of slaves, it is revealing nonetheless the central role that enslaved African Americans played in the daily lives of University of Virginia students.


Mews Alley - Access drive between Pavilion I and III 



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