The Jefferson - Hemings ControversyHistory on trial Main Page

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19th-century Jefferson biographers execute and embalm the scandal. Henry S. Randall (1858) character-assassinates that very character-assassin Callender himself as a "common blackguard," a "pertinacious mendicant," author of a "putrid stream" of "monstrous fabrications," who fittingly and ignominiously died a drunkard's death; and James Parton (1874) relegates the "Dusky Sally" story, with its seamy insinuations of "yellow children" and "Congo Harems," to the junkyard of campaign lies. Slate clean, official narrative in place, the elevation of Jefferson to political sainthood begins.