Trotter, James Monroe – Civil War


This James Monroe Trotter mug is part of a collection of African American biographical mugs.  An image of James Monroe Trotter and a short biography are features of this history mug.

Small Mug, 11 oz.

Large Mug, 15 oz.

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Born into slavery in Mississippi and later freed by his master, James Monroe Trotter grew up a free man becoming a teacher and a prominent civil rights advocate.  Trotter married Virginia Isaacs, the daughter of Ann-Elizabeth Fossett Isaacs, a former slave at Monticello, who was sold in 1827 as part of Jefferson’s dispersal sale.  In 1863, Trotter enlisted in the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and rose to the rank of lieutenant.  He was wounded in the Battle of Honey Hill, SC.  After the war, he became the first man of color to be hired by the US Postal Service and wrote a book on the history of African American music.  James Monroe Trotter was appointed the Recorder of Deeds in 1886, this was the highest federal position available to African Americans at the time.  His son, William Monroe Trotter was the founder and editor of the Boston Guardian, a progressive African American newspaper.

Slavery at Monticello

Thomas Jefferson fathered at least six children with his slave Sally Hemings.  Descendants of slaves at Monticello became important figures in American history.  Direct descendants such as John Freeman Shorter, and spouses of descendants such as James Monroe Trotter and William H. Dupree, were African Americans who enlisted in the Civil War with the 55th Massachusetts Volunteers and all of them rose to the rank of lieutenant.

This James Monroe Trotter mug is part of our Civil War and African American Series profiling outstanding men and women who have helped shape our country in important and positive ways.

The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history.  The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton.  He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone.  The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.

  • Mugs are food and microwave safe.
  • To preserve photographic quality we recommend hand washing.
  • Mugs are usually shipped within 3-5 days.
  • Shipping charges are lower when buying multiple mugs.


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