Black History Moment: Sally Hemings and the Hemings descendants

by Feb 12, 2021Blog0 comments

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember the controversy that arose upon the revelation that one of America’s founding fathers (Thomas Jefferson) fathered children with an enslaved bi-racial woman (Sally Hemings) on his plantation.  Today’s black history moment is a simple reacknowledgement about Sally Hemings and her descendants.
Key Facts – Sally Hemings
* Was a mixed-race woman that was owned by former President Thomas Jefferson, enslaved on his Monticello plantation
* Through historical evidence, Jefferson maintained a long-term extramarital relationship with Sally Hemings
* Basis of the Jefferson-Hemings controversy centered on whether Thomas Jefferson was the father of Hemings’ children
* Through renewed historical research in the late 20th century that included a DNA study, a paternal link between Jefferson and Hemings’ youngest child (Eston Hemings) was discovered
Significance of Sally Hemings
* Renewed research involving the use of DNA, brought to light a previously hidden parental relationship between an enslaved woman and an American president
* The discovery about Sally Hemings and her descendants, was deemed a significant step towards telling the full truth about America’s national narrative
Visit the websites below, and/or conduct your own research, to learn more about Sally Hemings and her descendants:
History.com – Sally Hemings

 

Thomas Jefferson Foundation: “Monticello Affirms Thomas Jefferson Fathered Children with Sally Hemings”
Thomas Jefferson Foundation: “Resources related to the Jefferson-Hemings Controversy”
TODAY Show video: “Descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves spend the night at Monticello”
CBS This Morning (2019 video): “Thomas Jefferson’s descendants come together despite troubled past”

 

The Oprah Winfrey Show (Nov. 12, 1998 episode): “Thomas Jefferson’s Black & White Relatives Meet Each Other”