Growing up in Williamsburg, Stanton Camp '22 naturally developed a love for the history of colonial Virginia. But as he considered what direction to take his college education, Stanton didn’t think history was an option—at least not at first.
"My family is very business oriented, so when I first got to college, I was planning to pursue a business degree," Stanton admits. "I've loved the study of history my whole life, but I was always told it wasn't a viable field. Then I realized how incorrect that statement is. History is a very complex and diverse subject. There are so many opportunities that a history degree opens up like preservation, teaching, or government."
So Stanton followed his passion and changed his major. This summer, Stanton put his studies to practical use interning at the final home of Virginia statesman Patrick Henry: Red Hill Plantation in Charlotte County. Stanton's assignment was part of the site’s efforts to include a greater interpretation of enslaved life at Red Hill. In 2018, the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation purchased a piece of land called Quarter Place that has approximately 147 documented African-American gravesites.
Stanton researched the history and culture of enslaved people at Red Hill and in relation to Patrick Henry and his life at Red Hill, while another intern traced the genealogical routes of recorded enslaved persons in an effort to locate living descendants.
"History should be told accurately and transparently. There shouldn't be a bias in telling the story of the past," Stanton says. "Creating an interpretation of history to share with the public is a challenge, because people do come with their own biases. But we're trying to create a more accurate and inclusive picture of life at Red Hill. Enslaved people were a big part of that history, and they deserve to have their stories told."