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Jefferson's Children: The Story of One American Family Paperback – December 24, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
He had heard that people "passed into the white world" and wanted to understand this concept as he comes from a mixed race background where his Grandmother scandalised many English people when she married a Bengali in a time when Black people were still being murdered for just whistling at a white girl in the USA.
So I have got him this book which talks candidly and in a language that a twelve year old will understand about "Jefferson's Children", both legitimate and illegitimate."
All of whom walked many paths, some down the road to embracing their Anglo-African roots, others to never know their slave origins as they slipped away into the embrace of their "white roots", and just as many who would never doubt their racial purity because they were descended from the two legitimate daughters of Thomas Jefferson.
This is an excellent book for teens and adults alike; it looks at the proud descendents from this illustrious lineage as well as those who see such a bloodline as curse rather than a blessing.
I liked the fact that the book wasn't over syrupy, it was down to earth yet proud with a healthy dose of cynicism from some people both Black and White, I liked that and I think my nephew will like that too.
Of course there are many people, who will continue to deny that Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson ever had a relationship, and this is reflected in the book.
I find this curious as DNA has proven that the children of Sally Hemmings were Thomas Jefferson's offspring, and their excuses such as "Thomas loved his wife Martha too much to take up with a slave," made me smile.Read more ›
but I found it great reading for an older audience. It was
written as a result of research done by twenty-year-old Shannon
Lanier, a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson and his slave
Sally Hemings. With slavery as the backdrop, this book is an
attempt to combine the history of one American family. Amidst
the controversy surrounding the biography of Thomas Jefferson
and his offspring, Shannon shares his family's story.
Many descendants of Martha Jefferson and several generations of
historians have resisted the claims of kinship to Jefferson by
Hemings' offspring, and they feel these claims will tarnish his
legacy. But the information collected by Shannon is not a myth,
and it is his belief that he has found the final piece of puzzle
to complete the search for the the Hemings' family tree. Shannon
never intended to bring shame to Jefferson's legacy, but he is
aware that his research will show an unveiled look at a man many
feel is beyond reproach.
The story is told with a collection of historical essays,
interviews and family photographs, and is wonderfully illustrated
by Jane Feldman. This is not the Thomas Jefferson we studied in
school and there is the strong possibility that this particular
information may never appear in history books. Since there are no
written records of the slaves' birth, and of the period after
slavery was abolished, to substantiate Shannon's claims. The
history during these periods was memorized and told by oral
historians. But in 1998 DNA tests produced evidence that there
is a link between the Jefferson and Hemings families.Read more ›
Few literary efforts make race seem so indistinct and unimportant today as this work by a remarkable young Jefferson-Hemings descendant. Everyone who has felt cheated by historians while attempting to learn the full story of Americans' mixed heritage can make up for that in part by reading Jefferson's Children.
By the way--it's not just a children's book. It's for everyone. It also provides a good historical perspective of Sally Hemings as the half-sister of Jefferson's late wife, Martha, who died 19 years before he became President.
Some people's sense of reality will conclude, rightly I believe, that Sally Hemings was, in his heart, the First Lady of President Thomas Jefferson. I regret the time was not right for open acknowledgment of that. It certainly is now.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
written in by small children. Not what expected in a book about his children. Needed to be fleshed out.Published 2 months ago by Nain
Such a wonderful family history. I adored this book. Love reading about Jefferson and his 2 families.Published 6 months ago by Patricia S. Dumas
really enjoyed! Interesting to talk to the succeeding generationsPublished 17 months ago by S Price
I am still reading it but it a great story and has exceeded my expectationsPublished 18 months ago by Thomas Winston