10 July 2003

The Monticello Association and Racism

Good news for my handful of faithful readers: I have Internet access in Virginia. I'll be able to post whenever I feel the need.

Today I offer this little nugget about Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. One of Jefferson's white descendants, Lucian Truscott IV, has been instrumental in trying to include the descendents of Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings in Monticello reunions. His Op-Ed piece in today's New York Times tells how his efforts have been received by other white Jefferson descendants--with hate and scarcely veiled racism.

I have read quite a bit about the DNA testing done on Hemings and Jefferson descendants. I think it is fairly convincing, and I have no doubt that as the science becomes more exact, Jefferson's white descendants will no longer be able to hide from the fact that they share blood ties with the families of former slaves. But beyond that, I think that regardless of blood ties the descendants of Jefferson's slaves should be allowed to come to Monticello Association events. After all, didn't most antebellum slave owners claim that the human beings they owned were part of the family?


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