Mary Randolph lived in a slave society where slavery defined politics, economics, labor relations, and social identities. In slave societies, slaveholders compose the ruling political class, and the master-slave relationship shapes all aspects of society and daily life. Slavery was inescapable in the world Randolph inhabited. For slaveholders, enslaved, and every other community member, it infused all aspects of their experience. The legacy of slavery continues to shape our society and daily lives to the present. As a slave mistress, Randolph was intimately involved with the lives of the people she and her family held in bondage. The labor, culture, and skill of enslaved people are evident in her recipes; however, these contributions are always uncredited. To acknowledge the past inequalities and work towards an antiracist society, the Virginia House-wife Project will work to recognize these contributions.
Mary Randolph lived in the ancestral homeland of the Manahoac, Monacan, Powhatan, and Nacotchank peoples. The Virginia House-wife Project acknowledges the Manahoac, Monacan, Powhatan, and Nacotchank peoples as the traditional custodians of this land, and pays respect to their elders past and present. Further, we recognize their contributions to Randolph’s recipes and food culture.