October 22, 2008

America was fascinated several years ago to learn of the possibility that Thomas Jefferson had children with a black slave woman named Sally Hemings.  Now, a new book chronicles the life of the Hemingses over an entire century.

America was fascinated several years ago to learn of the possibility that Thomas Jefferson had children with a black slave woman named Sally Hemings.  Now, a new book chronicles the life of the Hemingses over an entire century.

Scholar Annette Gordon-Reed joined Marc live to discuss her new book called The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.  What is the historical significance of this family?  What lingering doubts remain about the veracity of the claim that Jefferson fathered children with Sally Hemings?

Listen in for a glimpse at a fascinating chapter of American history.

Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show currently airs on The Real News Network. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Email us to share your comments with us.

1 Comment

  1. Annette Gordon-Reed has written in her second book that TJ fathered 7 of Sally’s children. If you will read the Scholars Commission Report found on http://www.tjheritage.org you will find that 13 prominent scholars found NO proof that TJ fathered ANY slave child. In her first book (which was used extensively by the Monticello Study Group along with the unbelieveable newspaper article of Madison Hemings interview in the Pike County newspaper. In this article, written by a noted abolitionist, Samuel Wetmore, Madison states he was named by Dolley Madison at his birth at Monticello on January 19, 1805. Careful and lengthy investigation proves this statement WRONG. According to Madison Family Papers the Madisons NEVER travelled to Virginia from Washington during winter. If this statement is made to misinform the reader then WHY are we asked to believe anything in this damaged article and definitely to be used as research by Monticello? As mentioned above the Mrs Gordon=-Reed book was also used by Monticello for a “road map” in their research. This same study group, headed by an African-American oral slave specialist, “hid under the rug” an important Minority Report by a Monticello employee on this group, Dr. Ken Wallenborn. I intervened with the Chairman, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (Monticello owners), and Dr Daniel Jordan, then President of Monticello apologized to Dr Wallenborn for such action. Mrs. Gordon-Reed in her first book states that DNA did nor prove that the descendant of Eston Hemings was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson. SO, what has she “dug up” since to now claim in the second book that TJ fathered 7 of Sally’s children? Monticello surely has NO proof of this and neither do I. The DNA did NOT find a match of one of 7 of Sally’s PROPOSED children (Thomas Woodson whose name was used in the Callender Campaign Lies), so we are now down to six, minus the one AGR states does not descend from Thomas so this leaves 5. Monticello, using the biased and one sided research as stated by Dr Wallenborn, even has the GAUL to state that not only one but ALL (please remember only one was DNA tested………I know….I personally assisted Dr Foster with the test.

    The main cause of the misuse and manipulation of this amateurish study began when Dr Foster, selected a KNOWN carrier of the Jefferson DNA, John Weeks Jefferson, whose Eston famioly, who had NEVER claimed descent from Thomas, BUT his younger brother, Randolph Jefferson. The Eston family explains this to be “a Jefferson uncle”, the reference to UNCLE RANDOLPH, a name used by TJ’s grandchildren and their slave playmates (Hemings children, etc). Assisdting Dr Foster I suggested that Nature be notified of this family connection so they would be aware of othjer possibilities and that any SURE match, as suggested by this test, MUST have historical information to compare. He refused my suggested and submitted it without this vital information. In a later Nature article (Jan 7, 1999), a more detailed and truthful article was written because of pressure applied by myself and other careful professionals who demanded clarification.

    SUMMARY: In Oct 1992 a conference was convened at the University of Virginia, as reported in the Peter Onuf book, Jefferson Legacies and this group has an annual gathering to discuss the slavery and other issues. Dr. Daniel Jordan, retired Monticello President, refers to this in his foreword as “its scope and revisionist tone.” Two of the attendees, Stephen A. Conrad reports: “that Richard Rorty, elequently made the case for setting aside questions of historical accuracy and philosophical justification in order to sustain the present-day cause of international human rights.” Yes, there is no wonder when the Thomas Jefferson MEMORIAL Foundation (owners of Monticello, DROPPED the word, MEMORIAL from their title. May we not wonder who or what they are NOW “memoralizing.”

    The public is being “CONNED” and I ask that concerned citizens investigate this degradation of a fine founding father, Thomas Jefferson………NOTHING proves he fathered slave children.

    Herb Barger
    Jefferson Family Historian
    Asst. to Dr Foster on the DNA Study

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