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Sally Hemings An American Love Story
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Sam Neill, Carmen Ejogo, Diahann Carroll. The historical scandal between President Thomas Jefferson and the slave girl Sally, jumps onto the screen with a shocking presence. Jefferson, engaged in a 39-year affair with Ms. Hemings, allegedly fathered at least one, if not all six, of Sally's children. This fictionalized made-for-TV movie packs a powerful punch about love that endured and triumphed in the face of horrific prejudice. 2000/color/171 min/NR/fullscreen.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is easy to point up the hypocrisy of Thomas Jefferson, the author who wrote so eloquently of freedom in the Declaration of Independence while denying to others, but initially Jefferson did seek the end of slavery in the 13 colonies. During the days of the Continental Congress he urged the abolition of slavery as part and parcel of the newly created United States, but was persuaded to drop the cause when the southern states threatened to bolt and withdraw their much needed support in the inevitable clash with the the crown. Following the Revolution Jefferson no longer persued abolitionist ideology
As a person ages, they often become more conservative and careful in their beliefs. This was true of Jefferson. He also held a strong belief in NOT concentrating or centralizing the powers of the government but rather to give the greater authority to each State to govern itself in the newly formed confederation. Although Jefferson's ideas would give way to Madison and the Federalization of the states; many still cling to the idea of decentralized government; the south in particular used this dictum again and again during the civil rights era in order to maintain their segregationist laws.
What can never be known is the true nature of the relationship between Sally Hemings and Jefferson. Sally Hemings was Jefferson's property and with no personal freedom or rights. We know that Jefferson instructed Martha Jefferson Randolph, his daughter by Martha Jefferson, to free Sally & her children upon his death. Many speculate that this was based on his love and affection for this steadfast woman with whom he shared much of his life and by whom he had a number of children.
Ejogo does a magnificent job of presenting Sally through all of the emotion and hardship her life held. Good times and bad, Sally was the rock her children needed, and the woman President Jefferson wanted. Of course much of the time they were together, Jefferson was not President, but often politically active. He at least did give the girl, Sally, her freedom early in their relationship, in Paris. Sally first became an active mistress to Jefferson at that location, while just a teenager and maid to Jefferson's daughter, Patsy (Mare Winningham). It was a 38-year relationship that actually continued as Sally cared for Jefferson's grave until her own death. It is a love story. Not a Christian example but sincere love in a bi-racial relationship at a time when it was unacceptable. It leave the viewer the task of deciding ethics.
Definitely enough historical record to make this worthy of watching for every student, suggested for ages 12 and over. A DVD value at today's price for the historical content as well as entertainment excellence. The only negative was background musical scores were loud enough it was sometimes difficult to catch all the words of the actors, and subtitles or CC are NOT included. The box warns of violence and profanity...correctly. When dealing with period slavery in a realistic fashion, that is expected.