By Robert Hancock
Senior Curator and Director of Collections
This wooden shoe, or sabot, was made on Bremo Plantation in Virginia. Made by, and for the use of the enslaved people on the plantation, they also were distributed to Confederate soldiers during the war.
Bremo, situated on the banks of the James River about 25 miles southeast of Monticello, was owned and managed by John Hartwell Cocke. Though Cocke expressed a “continual hostility to slavery,” he did not emancipate his own slaves. Like his neighbor, Thomas Jefferson, Cocke did not believe that black and white people could coexist in harmony, nor did he believe enslaved people could survive if freed without the benefit of education and skill training.