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A President in the Family: Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and Thomas Woodson Hardcover – February 28, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately for Mr. Woodson's thesis 'Tom's' name should certainly have appeared more than once. His 'mother' and 'brothers and sister' are listed not only on Jefferson's Slave Census but in distributions of rations and clothing as well. 'Black Tom' supposedly lived at Monticello till 1802, his name most certainly should have appeared in those records just as the rest of the Hemmings family's names did.
However the even if the existence of 'Black Tom' were proven it would do the Woodsons no good. The famous DNA tests that proved the Eston Jeffersons are indeed descended from *A* Jefferson male, (possibly Thomas but his brother or nephew is equally probable) also proved that though Thomas Woodson was undoubtedly sired by a white man that man was *not* a Jefferson.
The Woodson family has chosen to ignore this incontrovertable scientific evidence and cling to their family myth. Frankly I find it pitiable that this extraordinarily accomplished and successful family should be so fixated on a fictitious illegitimate descent from a Founding Father. The achievements of generations of Woodsons, against unbelievable odds, is in itself a heritage to be proud of, they don't need Jefferson's blood to validate their role in American history.
So we're not related to TJ (I'm the son of the author). Our historical and genealogical research is accurate (we have found over 1700 living relatives) minus one speculation. For the record, as a member of the Woodson family I grew up knowing that I am related to Thomas Woodson, but thinking I might be related to Thomas Jefferson.
So the Woodson's aren't related to TJ . . .So why read the book? Because it's a darn good book.
I was even surprised at how well-written it is. This book aspires to be an honest account of how history is lived and made through the lives of real people as part of a family, and how history is both written and mis-written. The most ground-breaking and under-appreciated aspect of this book is that it tracks the stroy of at least seven generations of successful African Americans!
This multi-generational family-centered view shows the triumphs, plights, hopes, beliefs and one mistake of generations of a family (we're not related to TJ's cousin:) and the dishonesty of historians (DNA proved TJ is related to the descendants of at least one of Sally's children, much to the chagrin of historians; and that historians physically altered national landmarks [Monticello and Jefferson's farm book] to erase evidence of the close relationship between TJ and Sally).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Found it to be very uninteresting. Too much historical information about Thomas Jefferson and not much on the family.Published 7 months ago by Groovinggranny
This was a fascinating book. However, the branch of the family which it emphasized was not quite what I had expected.Published 21 months ago by Carol A Fox
this is a very intriguing and scandalous story from early america but i love it! there is a movie about ("jefferson in paris" with nick nolte) and a tv series with sam... Read morePublished on June 30, 2013 by Miranda Jane
If you've followed the Jefferson-Hemings controversy, you know that the DNA tests have shown that Jefferson was almost certainly the father of Sally Hemings' children. Read morePublished on April 10, 2007 by Amazon Customer