Monday, February 27, 2017

The Black History of Thomas Jefferson


Annette Gordon-Reed's The Hemings of Monticello, her exploration of the enslaved and freed Hemings family members and of Sally Hemings' long relationship with Thomas Jefferson, struck me as a masterful and almost unanswerable work of history, though indeed one requiring a good deal of judgment and interpretation of sources that were intentionally ambiguous from the start.

Not everyone is not yet ready to concede Gordon-Reed's case. History News Network, the American aggregator of history-related items (often politically related, too) publishes William G. Hyland Jr. defence of Jefferson. But Gordon-Reed has not much to worry about. The money 'graf of the defence:
Thomas Jefferson was raised as the perfect Virginia gentleman. The personality of the man who figures in the Hemings soap opera would be preposterously out of character for him.
Because it's understood no Virginia gentleman would never have laid a finger on a slave.

In other Black History month news, the Star reports on Measha Brueggergosman's encounter with the Book of Negroes, the 1783 register of black Americans, slave and free, embarking for Nova Scotia, including her ancestors. She's making an album on the subject.
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