Video

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

The relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings has been a subject of speculation for centuries and even more so in the past decade, when DNA testing increased evidence of a sexual liaison. Author Annette Gordon-Reed, who received attention in 1997 for a book that carefully evaluated claims and counter-claims about the Jefferson-Hemings relationship, has written a new book about Sally Hemings - a slave in the Founding Father's household - and her family. Gordon-Reed's book chronicles the Hemings family from the mid-1700s, when an English sea captain fathered a child by an enslaved woman living near Williamsburg, Va., to the early 19th-century story of Sally Hemings.

Speaker Biography: Annette Gordon-Reed is a professor of law at New York Law School. Her 1997 book was titled "Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy." She also co-authored "Vernon Can Read!: a Memoir" (2001) with Vernon Jordan, longtime civil rights leader and presidential confidante. In Gordon-Reed's 2002 book "Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History," she edits 12 original essays that illustrate how race often determined the outcome of trials and how trials that confront issues of racism provide a unique lens on American cultural history.

Advertisement