The Jefferson - Hemings ControversyHistory on trial Main Page

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Imagine yourself a fly on the wall if Jefferson's "white" family and Jefferson's "black" family could have sparred over "dusky Sally." "Thomas Jefferson is my father," says Madison Hemings (1873), literally the blackest of Sally Hemings's "black" children, "my mother told me so." A "moral impossibility," pontificates Jefferson granddaughter Ellen Randolph Coolidge (1858). And "as immaculate a man as God ever created," contributes her brother Thomas Jefferson Randolph. As they throw Jefferson nephews under the controversy bus.