Sally Hemings

Sally Hemings



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Sally Hemings (ou Hemmings) pode ter se chamado originalmente de Sarah. Pensa-se que ela era filha de um escravo e de John Wayles, sogro de Thomas Jefferson. Hemings foi herdado por Jefferson e sua esposa em 1774 e aparentemente serviu como enfermeira e companheira dos filhos de Jefferson. Em 1787, Hemings, de 14 anos, acompanhou a filha de Jefferson, Mary, à França para se juntar ao pai em uma missão diplomática. Alguns especularam que um relacionamento entre Hemings e Jefferson começou nessa época. Duas descrições existentes de Sally Hemings concordam sobre sua aparência e beleza: Thomas J. Randolph, neto de Jefferson, a descreveu como "clara e decididamente bonita". a escrava residente lembrava-se dela como "poderosa, quase branca. Muito bonito, cabelos longos e lisos caindo nas costas." Hemings continuou a servir a família Jefferson e nunca foi legalmente libertado. Hemings teve pelo menos quatro filhos; acusações da cumplicidade de Jefferson foram apresentadas pela primeira vez por um ex-funcionário amargurado. Um artigo em Natureza (5 de novembro de 1998) relataram que as amostras de DNA retiradas de descendentes de Jefferson foram comparadas com os descendentes de Hemings e concluiu que Jefferson pode ter gerado um dos filhos de Sally Hemings. Pesquisas posteriores lançam dúvidas sobre as descobertas anteriores e observa que outros parentes de Jefferson viveram em proximidade com a família Monticello e um poderia ter sido o pai da criança ou filhos em questão. Dois dos filhos de Hemings, Madison e Eston, deixaram claro que eles eram filhos de Thomas Jefferson e descendentes de Thomas C. No entanto, ao contrário de Madison e Eston, Woodson não aparece nos registros de Jefferson.


Veja mulheres importantes e famosas na América.


Sally Hemings

Sally Hemings era filha de Elizabeth Hemings e, supostamente, John Wayles, sogro de Thomas Jefferson & # 8217s & # 8211 Elizabeth Hemings e seus filhos viveram na plantação John Wayles & # 8217 durante sua vida. Na Virgínia do século 18, os filhos nascidos de mães escravas herdaram seu status legal, portanto, Elizabeth e Sally Hemings e todos os seus filhos eram legalmente escravos, mesmo quando os pais eram seus senhores brancos.

Se o pai de Sally Hemings e # 8217 fosse John Wayles, ela seria a meia-irmã da esposa de Thomas Jefferson, Martha Wayles Jefferson. Depois que Wayles morreu em 1773, Martha herdou a família Hemings quando Martha morreu em 1782, ela deixou a família Hemings para Thomas Jefferson.

Sally veio com a mãe para Monticello em 1776. As meninas escravas de seis ou oito anos eram babás e ajudantes das enfermeiras-chefes nas plantações do sul. A partir de 1784, Sally aparentemente serviu como empregada doméstica e companheira de Mary Jefferson, a filha mais nova de Jefferson.

Sally Hemings e Mary Jefferson estavam morando em Eppington & # 8211 a residência da tia e do tio de Mary & # 8217 & # 8211 em 1787, quando Jefferson pediu que sua filha Mary se juntasse a ele em Paris. Sally, de quatorze anos, e Mary, de oito, cruzaram o oceano Atlântico para Londres naquele verão. Eles foram recebidos em Londres por John e Abigail Adams, que escreveram que Sally & # 8220 parece gostar da criança e parece ter boa índole. & # 8221 Jefferson & # 8217s mordomo francês, Adrien Petit, acompanhou as duas meninas de Londres a Paris.

Não se sabe se Sally Hemings morava na residência de Jefferson & # 8217s, o Hotel de Langeac, ou no Abbaye de Panthemont, onde as filhas de Jefferson & # 8217s Martha e Mary estavam hospedadas. Quaisquer que fossem os arranjos durante a semana, Sally passava os fins de semana com Jefferson em sua villa. Enquanto estava em Paris, Sally, sem dúvida, recebeu treinamento adequado para sua posição como empregada doméstica das filhas de Jefferson. De acordo com a lei francesa, Sally estava livre.

Sally permaneceu na França por 26 meses. Jefferson pagou seu salário enquanto estava em Paris, o equivalente a US $ 2 por mês. De acordo com as memórias de 1873 de seu filho Madison, Sally engravidou de Jefferson e se recusou a voltar para os Estados Unidos, a menos que ele concordasse em libertar seus filhos e que Jefferson concordasse com essa condição.

O que é alegado, e não conhecido exceto por implicação, é que Thomas Jefferson e Sally Hemings iniciaram um relacionamento íntimo em Paris. Depois que a família voltou para a Virgínia em 1789, Sally parece ter permanecido em Monticello, onde desempenhava as funções de empregada doméstica e empregada doméstica.

Existem apenas duas descrições conhecidas de Sally Hemings. O escravo Isaac Jefferson lembrou-se de que ela era quase branca e poderosa. . . muito bonito, cabelo longo e reto pelas costas. & # 8221 O biógrafo de Jefferson, Henry S. Randall, lembrou-se do neto de Jefferson & # 8217s, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, descrevendo-a como & # 8220de cor clara e decididamente bonita. & # 8221

Sally Hemings teve seis filhos, que agora se acredita terem sido gerados por Thomas Jefferson, e suas datas de nascimento estão registradas no Jefferson & # 8217s Farm Book ou nas cartas que ele escreveu. Ele não registrou o nome do pai para os filhos de Sally.

Quatro crianças sobreviveram à idade adulta:
Beverly (nascido em 1798), um carpinteiro e violinista, teve permissão para deixar a plantação em 1821 e, de acordo com seu irmão, passou para a sociedade branca em Washington, D.C.

Harriet (nascida em 1801), uma fiandeira na loja de tecidos Jefferson & # 8217s, também deixou Monticello em 1821, provavelmente com seu irmão Beverly, e se passou por branco.

Madison Hemings (nascido em 1805), um carpinteiro e marceneiro, recebeu sua liberdade em Jefferson & # 8217s, ele se reassentou no sul de Ohio em 1836, onde trabalhou em seu comércio e tinha uma fazenda.

Eston Hemings (nascido em 1808), um carpinteiro que também obteve sua liberdade no testamento de Jefferson e # 8217, mudou-se para Chillicothe, Ohio, na década de 1830. Ele era um músico profissional conhecido antes de se mudar em 1852 para Wisconsin, onde mudou seu nome para Eston Jefferson junto com sua identidade racial. Madison e Eston Hemings deram a conhecer a sua crença de que eram filhos de jefferson.

Imagem: Monticello
Jefferson & # 8217s Virginia plantation

Thomas Jefferson estava em Monticello na época provável da concepção de Sally Hemings & # 8217 seis crianças conhecidas. Não há registros sugerindo que ela estava em outro lugar nessas ocasiões, ou registros de quaisquer nascimentos em ocasiões que excluíssem a paternidade de Jefferson. Não há indicações nos relatos contemporâneos de pessoas familiarizadas com Monticello de que os filhos de Sally Hemings & # 8217 tiveram pais diferentes. Muitos contemporâneos disseram que as crianças de Sally Hemings & # 8217 eram muito parecidas com Thomas Jefferson.

As crianças de Sally Hemings & # 8217 tinham pele clara, e três delas (filha Harriet e os filhos Beverly e Eston) viveram como membros da sociedade branca como adultos, ocultando suas origens. Pessoas livres que eram sete oitavos brancos, como os filhos de Sally & # 8217s com Jefferson, sob a lei da Virgínia eram legalmente brancos.

Sally nunca se casou. Como escrava, ela não poderia ter um casamento reconhecido pela lei da Virgínia, mas muitos escravos tinham parceiros em união estável. Enquanto Sally trabalhava em Monticello, ela tinha seus filhos por perto. De acordo com o filho dela, Madison, eles tiveram permissão para ficar na & # 8216 grande casa & # 8217 e apenas fizeram trabalhos leves como fazer recados. & # 8221 Aos 14 anos, as crianças começaram seu treinamento, os irmãos como carpinteira e Harriet como fiandeira e tecelã. Beverly, Madison e Eston aprenderam a tocar violino (Jefferson tocava violino).

O nome de Sally & # 8217s tornou-se publicamente vinculado a Jefferson & # 8217s em 1802, durante o primeiro mandato de Jefferson & # 8217 como presidente, quando um jornal de Richmond publicou a alegação de que ela era amante de Jefferson & # 8217s e lhe dera vários filhos. Embora houvesse rumores antes de 1802, este artigo espalhou a história amplamente e foi publicado em muitos jornais durante o restante da presidência de Jefferson.

A política de Jefferson era não oferecer nenhuma resposta pública a ataques pessoais e, aparentemente, ele não fez nenhum comentário público ou privado explícito sobre essa questão. Sua filha Martha Jefferson Randolph negou em particular os relatórios publicados, e seus filhos afirmaram muitos anos depois que tal ligação não era possível, tanto por motivos morais como práticos. Eles também afirmaram que os sobrinhos Peter e Samuel Carr de Jefferson e # 8217 foram os pais dos escravos Monticello de pele clara.

Quando os avaliadores chegaram a Monticello após a morte de Jefferson & # 8217 em 1826 para avaliar sua propriedade, eles descreveram Sally Hemings de 56 anos como & # 8220 uma velha que vale $ 50. & # 8221 Jefferson & # 8217s filha Martha Jefferson Randolph então deu Sally & # 8220 seu tempo, & # 8221 uma forma de liberdade não oficial que permitiria que ela permanecesse na Virgínia (as leis da época exigiam que os escravos libertados deixassem o estado em um ano). Sally viveu seus últimos nove anos com seus filhos Madison e Eston em Charlottesville, Virginia.

Sally Hemings morreu em 1835 em Charlottesville. A localização de seu túmulo é desconhecida.

O fato de um relacionamento Jefferson-Hemings não poder ser refutado nem comprovado foi questionado em 1998 por testes de DNA que estabeleceram que um indivíduo portador do cromossomo Y masculino de Jefferson era pai de Eston Hemings (nascido em 1808), a última criança conhecida de Sally Hemings. Havia aproximadamente 25 Jeffersons adultos do sexo masculino que carregavam este cromossomo vivendo na Virgínia naquela época, e alguns deles são conhecidos por terem visitado Monticello. Os autores do estudo, no entanto, disseram & # 8220 que a conclusão mais simples e mais provável & # 8221 foi que Thomas Jefferson gerou Eston Hemings.

Pouco depois que os resultados do teste de DNA foram divulgados em novembro de 1998, a Fundação Thomas Jefferson formou um comitê de pesquisa composto por nove membros da equipe da fundação. Em janeiro de 2000, o comitê relatou suas conclusões de que o peso de todas as evidências conhecidas & # 8211 do estudo de DNA, documentos originais, relatos históricos escritos e orais e dados estatísticos & # 8211 indicava uma alta probabilidade de que Thomas Jefferson fosse talvez o pai de todos os seis filhos de Sally Hemings & # 8217 listados nos registros de Monticello.


. quem se casa com Thomas Jefferson, e.

. cuja mãe mestiça e escravizada foi estuprada por John Wayles
por uma dúzia de anos.

Só para ficar claro (porque as coisas estão ficando um pouco confusas), John Wayles é o pai de AMBOS.

Martha Wayles Jefferson e Sally Hemings são meias-irmãs.

Sally é 3/4 branca e 1/4 preta.

Quando John Wayles morreu, Martha herdou Sally Hemings.

Quando Martha se casou com Thomas Jefferson,
a propriedade dela tornou-se propriedade dele,
então ele se tornou o escravizador de Sally Hemings.

Mais uma vez, Martha e Sally têm o mesmo pai
- são meias-irmãs -
mas agora um deles é casado com o Pai Fundador e o outro é escravizado por ele.

Martha e Thomas Jefferson tiveram vários filhos antes da morte de Martha.

Após a morte de Martha,
Thomas leva sua filha mais velha para a França com ele enquanto trabalha lá em nome de
o recém-formado governo americano.

Em 1787, ele mandou buscar sua filha Polly, de 9 anos
para vir para a França aos cuidados de Sally, de 14 anos.

Sally Hemings serve à família Jefferson
na França por dois anos.

Em algum momento durante esses dois anos,
Thomas Jefferson começa a estuprar Sally Hemings.

Ela engravida aos 16 anos.

De acordo com a lei francesa, Sally poderia ter feito uma petição
para sua liberdade e permaneceu na França.

Em vez disso, ela voltou para a América
como propriedade de seu estuprador,
com sua promessa de que iria libertar seu filho
quando a criança completou 21 anos.

Sally teria seis filhos
(cada um era apenas 1/8 preto)
por Thomas Jefferson.

Embora todas essas crianças tenham sido libertadas aos 21 anos,
Sally nunca conseguiu sua liberdade.

A maioria dos filhos dela escolheu viver suas vidas
como pessoas brancas depois de ganhar sua liberdade.

Se você gostaria de aprender mais
sobre Sally Hemings e sua família,
Leia o livro
Os Hemingses de Monticello: Uma Família Americana
por Annette Gordon-Reed.

O trabalho de Gordon-Reed neste texto
forneceu evidência de DNA
provando a "relação" entre
Thomas Jefferson e Sally Hemings.


Mulheres Importantes da História

Virgínia:
Nasceu em 1773,
Morreu em 1835.
Uma história contada entre muitas não contadas.

A história começa algumas gerações atrás. Havia esta mulher africana, Susannah Eppes, ela foi chamada, que acabou no navio de um capitão inglês chamado John Hemings. Ele fez sexo com ela. Ela engravidou. Pouco depois, ela se viu morando na Virgínia, escrava do proprietário Francis Eppes IV, onde teve seu filho.

O bebê era uma menina: Elizabeth Hemings, um imigrante africano de primeira geração, meio branco.

Mãe e filha trabalharam para o velho Sr. Eppes até que sua própria filha, D. Martha, se casasse. Nesse ponto, Martha Eppes recebeu Elizabeth Hemings como sua escrava pessoal, parte do pacote nupcial.

Então, Hemings mudou de casa e tornou-se empregada doméstica da noiva e de seu novo marido, John Wayles, advogado e traficante de escravos. Ela também se tornou mãe: ficou com um homem igualmente escravizado e teve quatro filhos com ele.

A questão é que as esposas de John Wayles e # 8217 continuavam morrendo. Primeiro Martha Eppes, depois mais dois. Depois do terceiro, ele decidiu tomar Elizabeth Hemings como sua concubina. Agora, neste ponto, Hemings já era mãe de quatro filhos, ela já tinha um relacionamento de longo prazo com outro homem. No entanto, Wayles gerou outros seis filhos com ela. Esses filhos Hemings não eram apenas seus pelo sangue (ele era o pai deles), eles também eram sua propriedade legal (ele era o proprietário de escravos). O mais novo era Sally Hemings.

John também teve alguns filhos que weren & # 8217t escravos, é claro. Entra Martha Wayles, sua filha: ela é aquela que mais tarde se casou com Thomas Jefferson.

Entendi? Agora, faça uma pausa por um momento. Os laços de família entre as mulheres Hemings e, digamos, as Marthas estão bizarramente entrelaçados. O avô de Martha era dono da avó de Sally. A mãe de Martha era dona da mãe de Sally. Martha e Sally são irmãs.

Martha é branca & # 8211 uma futura primeira-dama.

Sally é três quartos branca e # 8211 uma imigrante africana de segunda geração.

É aqui que fica estranho. Quando John Wayles morreu, Martha e Thomas Jefferson herdaram muito. Muita terra, muita dívida, também muitos escravos. Entre eles estavam as crianças Hemings: Sally e seus irmãos e irmãs. O que significa que, quando John Wayles morreu, Martha herdou seus irmãos. (Jefferson, seus sogros.)

Essas crianças Hemings aparentemente nunca fizeram nenhum trabalho de campo enquanto escravizadas pelos Jeffersons, por quanto isso vale. Mas o padrão continuou: depois que Martha morreu e Thomas superou sua devastação, ele começou a fazer sexo com Sally Hemings.

Isso começou enquanto ele estava no exterior, trabalhando como enviado americano à França. Suas duas filhas mais novas estavam hospedadas com amigos nos Estados Unidos, mas quando a pequena Lucy morreu de tosse convulsa, Thomas chamou Polly, de nove anos, para ir com ele para o exterior. Ele providenciou para que uma mulher mais velha a acompanhasse e cuidasse dela, mas quando eles chegaram, a enfermeira era Sally.

Abigail Adams, que os recebeu em Londres, não ficou muito entusiasmada. Sally tinha apenas 15 anos ou mais, e de acordo com Abigail, ela não era muito de uma enfermeira. Mas Sally ficou, juntando-se a Jefferson em Paris naquele verão, onde ele encontrou outras razões para valorizá-la.

Para que não deixe de ser dito, há algumas alegações de que todo esse negócio de & # 8220consort & # 8221 é material para lendas & # 8211 que Thomas Jefferson, que falou de forma tão empolgante sobre a dignidade humana dos negros escravizados, nunca teria dormido com sua falecida esposa & # 8217s meia-irmã escravizada.

& # 8220Nada está mais certamente escrito no livro do destino do que que essas pessoas serão livres. & # 8221

& # 8220 Tremo por meu país quando reflito que Deus é justo e que sua justiça não pode dormir para sempre. & # 8221

O DNA das crianças de Sally e # 8217 discorda. Enfim, o que é tão surpreendente? Jefferson era um homem poderoso que viveu em uma época em que homens poderosos escravizavam pessoas de cor e freqüentemente faziam sexo com elas. Apesar de seus valores aparentes, foi uma época de dissonância cognitiva. Então é nosso próprio tempo. Sempre é assim.

Mas não vamos nos desviar. Hemings aprendeu um pouco de francês em Paris. Mais importante, ela foi considerada legalmente livre enquanto permanecesse, porque a escravidão era ilegal ali. Ela poderia ter partido. No entanto, Jefferson a engravidou e prometeu libertar seus filhos se ela voltasse para casa, então ela fez isso.

O bebê morreu, mas Hemings teve seis outros filhos depois, cujos nomes Jefferson escreveu em seu livro de escravos & # 8211 com apenas uma peculiaridade. Ao contrário de todos os outros nascimentos de escravos que registrou, ele não escreveu quem era seu pai.

Jefferson nunca libertou Sally Hemings nem libertou todos os seus filhos, como ele havia prometido. Em sua vida, Jefferson libertou apenas dois escravos. Em seu testamento, ele libertou mais cinco & # 8211 todos homens Hemings, alguns deles, seus próprios filhos. A única escrava que se libertou sob sua supervisão foi a filha fugitiva de Sally, que Thomas decidiu não perseguir.

Depois que Thomas morreu, a sobrinha de Sally, Martha Jefferson (a terceira Martha na fila), optou por manter sua tia fora do leilão depois que ela libertou Sally informalmente, embora isso nunca tenha acontecido na imprensa. Nos nove anos seguintes, Hemings viveu na Virgínia com seus dois filhos mais novos & # 8211 e, em 1833, todos foram incluídos no censo como brancos livres.

SIGNIFICADO

De acordo com uma linha de pensamento, Sally Hemings é significativo apenas porque Thomas Jefferson é significativo. Hemings não escreveu a Declaração de Independência, afinal de contas, ao invés disso, ela foi impelida a dormir com seu autor. O que é realmente importante é a maneira como o caso de Jefferson com ela muda o que pensamos dele.

Em outras palavras, ela é significativa não por quem ela era ou pelo que fez, mas pelo que foi feito a ela.

Este é o significado que James Thomson Callendar vocalizou em 1802, sugerindo no Richmond Gravador aquele nome Hemings & # 8217s mancha Jefferson & # 8217s que de alguma forma ela mancha a história americana por ter feito parte dela.

É verdade que a única razão pela qual sabemos sobre Hemings é que ela acabou se envolvendo nos assuntos de um arquétipo patriótico. No entanto, houve inúmeras outras mulheres que viveram a mesma história, cujos nomes não sabemos, e é importante lembrar que a história também as contém: as invisíveis, muitas não relatadas. Estas são as histórias que a vida de Hemings & # 8217s ajuda a iluminar.

Sally Hemings não era a única. Ela vivia um padrão matrilinear já com várias gerações de profundidade quando isso a atingiu: sua avó Susannah Eppes, impelida por John Hemings & # 8230 sua mãe Elizabeth Hemings, impelida por John Wayles & # 8230 ela mesma, impelida por Thomas Jefferson.

A palavra & # 8220 impelido & # 8221 foi escolhida conscientemente. Não sabemos o que essas mulheres pensavam de seus parceiros sexuais, mas sabemos que seus parceiros tinham controle total sobre suas circunstâncias. Onde um & # 8220no & # 8221 não tem peso, um & # 8220 sim & # 8221 não pode existir. A palavra & # 8220consentimento & # 8221 não o descreve.

Há outra razão pela qual a história de Hemings & # 8217s é significativa: pelas questões que levanta. Onde existe consentimento sexual hoje, onde não existe? Quanto peso damos a isso? De que forma os padrões de apenas 200 anos atrás ainda estão ondulando? De que forma continuamos a determinar os direitos e privilégios das pessoas de acordo com raça, gênero e outros identificadores?

Além disso, como a perspectiva da história das mulheres & # 8217s na história de Hemings & # 8217s difere de uma narrativa mais convencional? Para essa última pergunta, vá fundo neste artigo.


Sally Hemings e seu lugar na história americana

Na terceira série, Annette Gordon-Reed lembra de ter lido sua primeira biografia de Thomas Jefferson. Seu fascínio por este ex-presidente continuou durante sua adolescência e idade adulta, inspirando-a a se tornar uma historiadora e escritora ilustre. No entanto, não foi o próprio Jefferson quem mais despertou sua imaginação, mas sua escrava de longa data, Sally Hemings (1773-1835).

Ao longo de sua célebre carreira, o professor Gordon-Reed & ndash o professor da Carl M. Loeb University na Harvard Law School e um professor de história na Harvard University & ndash dedicou muito de sua bolsa de estudos transformadora para contar à Sra. Hemings & rsquo histórias notáveis, focando não apenas nela relacionamento de décadas com Jefferson, mas em quem ela era como uma mulher complexa moldada por raça, gênero, status e circunstâncias.

Em 26 de janeiro, a comunidade de Chapin teve o privilégio de passar uma noite virtual com esse notável estudioso. Como palestrante do Gilder Lehrman Institute de 2021, ela centrou sua palestra cativante em torno de seu livro vencedor do Prêmio Pulitzer, & ldquoThe Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family & rdquo (2008), uma continuação de seu trabalho anterior, & ldquoThomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings & rdquo (1997).

Inaugurada em 2006, a palestra anual Chapin & rsquos é resultado da maravilhosa parceria da School & rsquos com o Instituto Gilder Lehrman de História Americana, que promove a compreensão da história dos EUA por meio de programas educacionais. Os alunos das classes 7 e 11 logaram no webinar virtual, junto com os pais atuais e anteriores, membros profissionais da comunidade, ex-alunos, avós e amigos.

Além do Prêmio Pulitzer de História, o Professor Gordon-Reed recebeu inúmeras homenagens, incluindo o National Book Award, a National Humanities Medal, uma bolsa Guggenheim e uma bolsa MacArthur & ldquogenius & rdquo. Autora de vários volumes, ela foi advogada antes de seguir a carreira de redatora e acadêmica.

“Este livro significa muito para mim”, exclamou o professor Gordon-Reed após a diretora da escola, Suzanne Fogarty & rsquos, ter recebido calorosas boas-vindas e uma introdução de James Basker, presidente do Instituto Gilder Lehrman.

& ldquoEstava insatisfeito com a demissão da família Hemings em relação a Jefferson, então me perguntei: & lsquoO que posso fazer? & rsquo & rdquo

O & ldquodismissal & rdquo professor Gordon-Reed estava se referindo era a remoção sistemática de Sally Hemings e sua família dos registros históricos. Por 150 anos, historiadores negaram que Jefferson tivesse tido um relacionamento íntimo com sua escrava e fosse pai de seus seis filhos, apesar das evidências convincentes que sustentam essa afirmação. Embora a maioria dos historiadores modernos acredite que a relação realmente existiu, não foi até 1998 que os testes de DNA provaram a paternidade de Jefferson.

Através de sua pesquisa inovadora e meticulosa, o professor Gordon-Reed lança uma nova luz sobre este debate histórico de longa data, ajudando a restaurar o lugar de direito de Hemingses na narrativa americana. Ao examinar os copiosos arquivos de Jefferson & rsquos & ndash ele era & ldquoan inveterado guardião dos registros & rdquo & ndash, a palestrante descreveu como ela foi capaz de reunir uma linha do tempo que traçava a família Hemings desde 1700 na Virgínia até os anos após a morte de Thomas Jefferson & rsquos em 1826.

Prof. Gordon-Reed & rsquos livro arrebatador de 800 páginas, que ela caracterizou como & ldquoa saga geracional de uma família escravizada & rdquo também se beneficiou do fato de que os Hemingses viveram na plantação Monticello, Jefferson & rsquos Virginia, por mais de meio século. “Eu poderia seguir suas vidas ao contrário das famílias [escravas] separadas por venda”, disse ela. Ela também observou que Sally Hemings era meia-irmã da falecida esposa de Jefferson & rsquos, Martha Wayles Jefferson, o que pode ter contribuído para o tratamento preferencial de Jefferson & rsquos por ela.

Junto com Sally Hemings, o livro inclui seções significativas sobre sua mãe, Elizabeth Hemings, seus irmãos e quatro de seus filhos com Jefferson que viveu (dois morreram na infância): filhos Beverly, Madison e Eston, e filha Harriet. “Eu queria ir além de Sally Hemings”, disse ela, acrescentando que as lembranças de Madison Hemings desempenharam um papel importante em sua pesquisa.

Em um ponto, o professor Gordon-Reed compartilhou uma história reveladora sobre a jovem Sally Hemings e o tempo que ela e seu irmão, James, passaram em Paris, onde Jefferson estava servindo em uma missão diplomática. A Sra. Hemings acompanhou a filha de Jefferson & rsquos na viagem em 1787 e com o tempo tornou-se Jefferson & rsquos & ldquoconcubine & rdquo, explicou o professor.

Ao saber que estava grávida, a Sra. Hemings quis permanecer em Paris, onde sabia que a escravidão era ilegal pela lei francesa. No entanto, Jefferson lhe fez uma espécie de oferta. Se ela voltasse para a Virgínia, ele prometia libertar seu filho, e quaisquer filhos futuros, assim que atingissem a idade adulta.

& ldquoSally decide voltar com Jefferson & rdquo, disse o professor Gordon-Reed. & ldquoPor que ela fez isso? as pessoas me perguntam. Pense nisso. Teria sido muito difícil deixar sua família. Este é o dilema de todas as pessoas escravizadas. Você toma a liberdade e deixa sua família para trás? & Rdquo

No final, Jefferson manteve sua promessa. Como o professor reiterou, Sally Hemings e sua família eram elevados acima de outras pessoas escravizadas, provavelmente por causa de sua conexão biológica com sua falecida esposa. Assim, as crianças Hemings tinham empregos domésticos e nunca tiveram que trabalhar como criadas. Além disso, & ldquothey teve uma vantagem inicial na emancipação. & Rdquo

"Alguns viram isso como uma história de sobrevivência", observou o professor Gordon-Reed, refletindo sobre as escolhas complicadas que a Sra. Hemings enfrentou. & ldquoPessoas como Sally usaram todos os meios de que dispunham para ter uma vida melhor para si mesmas e suas famílias. & rdquo

Nos últimos minutos de sua palestra fascinante, a Professora Gordon-Reed gentilmente respondeu a uma série de perguntas enviadas anteriormente, uma das quais tocou nos desafios de seu processo de pesquisa.

& ldquoÉ difícil quando você lida com pequenos trechos de informações. É como um quebra-cabeça. Você tem que pensar de forma criativa e ampla e se preparar para buracos secos que não levam a lugar nenhum ”, disse ela, acrescentando“ Você tem que acreditar em seu projeto e saborear cada vitória. E você tem que adorar! & Rdquo

Em seus comentários finais, o Dr. Basker elogiou a Professora Gordon-Reed por sua palestra compassiva e instigante. "O que você fez por esses alunos foi realmente abrir um mundo de pessoas e circunstâncias diferentes e nos ajudar a entendê-los como seres humanos", disse ele.

& ldquoA outra coisa que você fez foi modelar uma possibilidade. Espero que alguns alunos de Chapin que tiveram a chance de ouvi-lo esta noite possam ver em você algo que eles podem aspirar e podem se tornar. & Rdquo


John Adams tirou Thomas Jefferson e Sally Hemings?

Os primeiros oito meses de 1802 foram misericordiosamente enfadonhos para o presidente Jefferson. A França e a Inglaterra assinaram um tratado de paz, reabrindo portos europeus e caribenhos ao comércio americano. A Marinha estava avançando contra os piratas berberes no Mediterrâneo. West Point foi estabelecido. A principal preocupação era pagar a dívida nacional. A amarga eleição de 1800 estava desaparecendo da memória.

Desta História

Thomas Jefferson e Sally Hemings: uma controvérsia americana

Conteúdo Relacionado

Então, na edição de 1º de setembro da Richmond RecorderJames Callender, um jornalista notório, relatou que o presidente dos Estados Unidos tinha uma amante negra de escravos que lhe dera vários filhos. & # 8220IT é bem conhecido que o homem, a quem agrada o povo honrar, mantém e por muitos anos manteve, como sua concubina, uma de suas próprias escravas, & # 8221 a história começou. & # 8220O nome dela é SALLY. & # 8221

Jornais federalistas do Maine à Geórgia reimprimiram a história. Poemas racistas foram publicados sobre o presidente e os defensores de & # 8220Dusky Sally. & # 8221 Jefferson & # 8217s foram mais calados, esperando em vão pela negação que nunca veio da Mansão Executiva. O escândalo abalou a nação nascente.

Como & # 8220bem conhecido & # 8221 era o relacionamento entre Jefferson e Hemings? Callender escreveu que havia & # 8220 uma ou duas vezes sugerido & # 8221 nos jornais, como de fato foi em 1800 e 1801. E em reação à sua sujeira, o Gazeta dos Estados Unidos disse que tinha & # 8220ouvido o mesmo assunto livremente falado na Virgínia, e por Virginia Gentlemen. & # 8221 Mas embora os estudiosos tenham vasculhado as fontes, eles não identificaram nenhuma referência escrita específica ao contato Jefferson-Hemings antes do aparecimento de Callender & # 8217s relatório escandaloso.

Acredito ter encontrado duas dessas referências. Eles precedem o expos & # 233 por mais de oito anos, e eles vêm da pena de ninguém menos que Jefferson & # 8217s velho amigo e rival político John Adams. Em cartas aos filhos Charles e John Quincy em janeiro de 1794, Adams aponta para a relação entre o sábio de Monticello e a bela jovem conhecida na plantação como & # 8220Dashing Sally. & # 8221 As referências passaram despercebidas até agora porque Adams usou uma alusão clássica cujo significado os historiadores e biógrafos não conseguiram avaliar.

As cartas de Adams e # 8217 oferecem evidências tangíveis de que pelo menos uma das principais famílias políticas do país estava ciente da relação Jefferson-Hemings muito antes de o escândalo estourar. Os documentos lançam uma nova luz sobre a questão da consciência da elite sobre o relacionamento, sobre a natureza da imprensa no início da república e sobre o próprio Adams.

Assine a revista Smithsonian agora por apenas $ 12

Este artigo é uma seleção da edição de novembro da revista Smithsonian

Jefferson renunciou ao cargo de secretário de estado de George Washington no último dia de 1793. Não havia sido um bom ano. His efforts to force his hated rival Alexander Hamilton out of the cabinet for financial misconduct failed miserably. Continuing to support the French Revolution despite the guillotining of the king and queen and the blossoming of the Terror, he alienated Adams and was disappointed by Washington’s proclamation of American neutrality in France’s latest war with England. At 50 years old, he was eager to return to his beloved Virginia estate to live as a gentleman farmer and philosopher.

Adams, the vice president, refused to believe that his estranged friend was really done with public life. In letters to his two eldest sons, he sourly assessed the man he was convinced would challenge him to succeed Washington as president. On January 2 he wrote to Charles:

Mr Jefferson is going to Montecello to Spend his Days in Retirement, in Rural Amusements and Philosophical Meditations—Untill the President dies or resigns, when I suppose he is to be invited from his Conversations with Egeria in the Groves, to take the Reins of the State, and conduct it forty Years in Piety and Peace.

On January 3 he wrote to John Quincy at greater length, enumerating seven possible motives for Jefferson’s resignation.

5. Ambition is the Subtlest Beast of the Intellectual and Moral Field. It is wonderfully adroit in concealing itself from its owner, I had almost said from itself. Jefferson thinks he shall by this step get a Reputation of an humble, modest, meek Man, wholly without ambition or Vanity. He may even have deceived himself into this Belief. But if a Prospect opens, The World will see and he will feel, that he is as ambitious as Oliver Cromwell though no soldier. 6. At other Moments he may meditate the gratification of his Ambition Numa was called from the Forrests to be King of Rome. And if Jefferson, after the Death or Resignation of the President should be summoned from the familiar Society of Egeria, to govern the Country forty Years in Peace and Piety, So be it.

In the vernacular of the time, “conversation” was a synonym for sexual intercourse and “familiar” was a synonym for “intimate.” The obvious candidate for the person whose conversation and familiar society Jefferson would supposedly be enjoying at his bucolic home is Sally Hemings.

But who was Egeria, and how confident can we be that Adams intended Hemings when he invoked her name?

Egeria is a figure of some importance in the mythical early history of ancient Rome. According to Livy and Plutarch, after the death of the warlike Romulus, the senators invited a pious and intellectual Sabine named Numa Pompilius to become their king. Accepting the job with some reluctance, Numa set about establishing laws and a state religion.

To persuade his unruly subjects that he had supernatural warrant for his innovations, Numa claimed that he was under the tutelage of Egeria, a divine nymph or goddess whom he would meet in a sacred grove. The stories say she was not just his instructor but also his spouse, his Sabine wife having died some years before. “Egeria is believed to have slept with Numa the just,” Ovid wrote in his Amores.

Age 40 when he became king, Numa reigned for 43 years—a golden age of peace for Rome during which, in Livy’s words, “the neighboring peoples also, who had hitherto considered that it was no city but a bivouac that had been set up in their midst, as a menace to the general peace, came to feel such reverence for them, that they thought it sacrilege to injure a nation so wholly bent upon the worship of the gods.”

Numa Pompilius converses with the nymph Egeria in a 1792 sculpture by the Danish artist Bertel Thorvaldsen. (Biblioteca do Congresso)

Adams, who was well versed in Latin and Greek literature, had every reason to feel pleased with his comparison. Like Rome at the end of Romulus’ reign, the United States was a new nation getting ready for its second leader. Jefferson would be the American Numa, a philosophical successor to the military man who had won his country’s independence. Like Numa, Jefferson was a widower (his wife, Martha, died in 1782) who would prepare himself for the job by consorting with a nymph, his second wife, in a grove that was sacred to him.

I asked Annette Gordon-Reed, the Harvard scholar and author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, what she made of the Adams references. “While the two letters to his sons do not definitively prove that Adams knew about the Jefferson-Hemings liaison in early 1794,” Gordon-Reed said in an email, “this elucidation of the allusion to Egeria makes that an intriguing possibility.”

One didn’t require a classical education to grasp the Egeria allusion in the early 1790s. In 1786, the French writer Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian had published Numa Pompilius, Second Roi de Rome, a romantic novel dedicated to Marie Antoinette—she liked it—and intended as a guide for an enlightened monarchy in France. (“People will believe I’ve written the story / Of you, of Louis, and of the French,” Florian’s dedicatory poem declares.) Soon translated into English, Spanish and German, the novel became a runaway best seller in the North Atlantic world.

It was while researching a novel of my own about the life and afterlife of Numa and Egeria that I happened upon the allusions in the two Adams letters. As a student of religion in public life, I have long been interested in Numa as an exemplary figure in the history of Western political thought from Cicero and St. Augustine to Machiavelli and Rousseau.

In fact, John Adams had made a point of invoking Numa and his divine consort in the three-volume Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, which he published while serving as minister to Eng­land in 1787. “It was the general opinion of ancient nations, that the divinity alone was adequate to the important office of giving laws to men,” he writes in the preface. “Among the Romans, Numa was indebted for those laws which procured the prosperity of his country to his conversations with Egeria.” Later in the work he explains, “Numa was chosen, a man of peace, piety, and humanity, who had address enough to make the nobles and people believe that he was married to the goddess Egeria, and received from his celestial consort all his laws and measures.”

In the Defesa, Adams was at pains to inform the world that, unlike other nations past and present, the recently united American states “have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature.” In other words, no Egerias need apply: “It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”

In a 1794 letter, John Adams gossiped slyly to son Charles about Jefferson’s “Conversations with Egeria." (Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society) The second page of Adams' letter to Charles (Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society) The third page of Adams' letter to Charles (Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society) The letter written by John Adams to his son John Quincy Adams likely on January 3, 1794 (Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society) The second page of Adams' letter to his son John Quincy (Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society)

Jefferson was the American avatar of Enlightenment rationality, a staunch opponent of the government establishment of religion, and the Washington administration’s foremost advocate of war with the Barbary pirates. Adams’ portrayal of him consulting with a goddess in order to govern “in Piety and Peace” was sharply pointed on all counts. But did he intend the goddess in question to refer to Sally Hemings?

There’s good reason to think so. Seven years earlier, Jefferson had arranged for his 8-year-old daughter, Mary, to join him and his elder daughter, Martha, in Paris. Hemings, a slave who was also a half-sister of Jefferson’s late wife, accompanied Mary on the trans-Atlantic passage to England upon their arrival, the two girls went to stay with the Adamses in London. Hemings was then 14 years old but, tellingly, Abigail Adams thought she was 15 or 16.

Writing Jefferson that the two had arrived, Abigail Adams took them under her wing until an emissary showed up two weeks later to convey them to Paris, where Jefferson almost certainly began having sex with Hemings. So in 1787 John Adams had seen for himself that Jefferson had a nubile beauty in his possession. By the end of 1793, John Quincy and Charles presumably would have been aware of it, too. Otherwise, the sexual allusion to Egeria would have been lost on them.

Significantly, John Adams did not allude to the matter when he wrote to Abigail at around the same time. She and Jefferson had something of a mutual admiration society, after all. “My Love to Thomas,” she wrote her husband on the very day that Jefferson resigned as secretary of state (though she wasn’t yet aware of that). Despite the two men’s political rivalry, she maintained a high regard for Jefferson through the 1790s, describing him as a man of “probity” in a letter to her sister. So while John Adams, in Philadelphia, did not refrain from criticizing Jefferson in his January 6, 1794, letter to Abigail, in Massachusetts, he did so with care.

Jefferson went off Yesterday, and a good riddance of bad ware. I hope his Temper will be more cool and his Principles more reasonable in Retirement than they have been in office. I am almost tempted to wish he may be chosen Vice President at the next Election for there if he could do no good, he could do no harm. He has Talents I know, and Integrity I believe: but his mind is now poisoned with Passion Prejudice and Faction.

There was no mention of Numa and Egeria. As I see it, John knew that his wife would not be amused by the insinuation that Jefferson was retiring to an intimate relationship with the maidservant she had cared for in London seven years earlier. That joke was reserved for the boys.

Among the African-Americans enslaved at Monticello were up to 70 members of the Hemings family over 5 generations. (Biblioteca do Congresso) A photograph of Jefferson’s Monticello, circa 1920 (Library of Congress)

A political eon passed between the vice president’s private joke and the presidential scandal. In 1796, Jefferson was narrowly defeated for the presidency by Adams and, under Article II of the Constitution (changed in 1804), indeed became vice president, having received the second-largest number of electoral votes. Four years later, he returned the favor, besting Adams in perhaps the ugliest presidential election in American history.

By then, Callender had won his muckraking spurs by publishing the story of Alexander Hamilton’s affair with a married woman and subsequent illicit financial arrangement with the woman’s husband. Jefferson was sufficiently impressed to provide the journalist with financial support to keep up his anti-Federalist work. But in May of 1800, Callender was convicted and sentenced to nine months in prison under the Sedition Act for “The Prospect Before Us,” a tract alleging pervasive corruption in the Adams administration. After his release, he approached Jefferson and asked to be appointed postmaster of Richmond. Jefferson refused. Callender traveled to Charlottesville and ferreted out the Hemings story, published under the headline “The President, Again.”

One of the more scurrilous commentaries on the story came from John Quincy Adams. On October 5, he sent his youngest brother, Thomas Boylston, a letter with an imitation of Horace’s famous ode to a friend who had fallen in love with his servant girl that begins: “Dear Thomas, deem it no disgrace / With slaves to mend thy breed / Nor let the wench’s smutty face / Deter thee from the deed.”

In his letter John Quincy writes that he had been going through books of Horace to track down the context of a quotation when what should drop out but this poem by, of all people, Jefferson’s ideological comrade in arms Tom Paine, then living in France. John Quincy professed bafflement that “the tender tale of Sally” could have traveled across the Atlantic, and the poem back again, within just a few weeks. “But indeed,” he wrote, “Pain being so much in the philosopher’s confidence may have been acquainted with the facts earlier than the American public in general.”

Historians have assumed that John Quincy, an amateur poet, composed the imitation ode in the weeks after Callender’s revelation hit the press. But in light of his father’s letters, it is not impossible that he had written it before, as his arch little story of its discovery implied. Thomas Boylston arranged to have his brother’s poem published in the prominent Federalist magazine The Port-Folio, where it did in fact appear under Paine’s name.

The Adamses never dismissed Callender’s story as untrue. No direct comment from Abigail Adams has come to light, but Gordon-Reed argues in The Hemingses of Monticello that the scandal deepened her estrangement from Jefferson after the bitter 1800 election. When Mary Jefferson died in 1804, Abigail wrote Thomas a chilly condolence letter in which she described herself as one “who once took pleasure in subscribing herself your friend.”

John Adams, in an 1810 letter to Joseph Ward, refers to James Callender in such a way as to imply that he did not consider the Hemings story credible. “Mr Jeffersons ‘Charities’ as he calls them to Callender, are a blot in his Escutchion,” he writes. “But I believe nothing that Callender Said, any more than if it had been Said by an infernal Spirit.” In the next paragraph, however, he appears more than prepared to suspend any such disbelief.

Callender and Sally will be remembered as long as Jefferson as Blotts in his Character. The story of the latter, is a natural and almost unavoidable Consequence of that foul contagion (pox) in the human Character Negro Slavery. In the West Indies and the Southern States it has the Same Effect. A great Lady has Said She did not believe there was a Planter in Virginia who could not reckon among his Slaves a Number of his Children. But is it Sound Policy will it promote Morality, to keep up the Cry of such disgracefull Stories, now the Man is voluntarily retired from the World. The more the Subject is canvassed will not the horror of the Infamy be diminished? and this black Licentiousness be encouraged?

Adams goes on to ask whether it will serve the public good to bring up the old story of Jefferson’s attempted seduction of a friend’s wife at the age of 25, “which is acknowledged to have happened.” His concern is not with the truth of such stories but with the desirability of continuing to harp on them (now that there is no political utility in doing so). He does not reject the idea that Jefferson behaved like other Virginia planters.

Adams’ sly joke in his 1794 letters shows him as less of a prude than is often thought. It also supports Callender’s assertion that the Jefferson-Hemings relationship was “well known,” but kept under wraps. It may be time to moderate the received view that journalism in the early republic was no-holds-barred. In reality, reporters did not rush into print with scandalous accusations of sexual misconduct by public figures. Compared with today’s partisan websites and social media, they were restrained. It took a James Callender to get the ball rolling.

John Adams’ reference to Jefferson’s Egeria put him on the cusp of recognizing a new role for women in Western society. Thanks largely to Florian’s 1786 best seller, the female mentor of a politician, writer or artist came to be called his Egeria. That was the case with Napoleon, Beethoven, Mark Twain, Andrew Johnson and William Butler Yeats, to name a few. In Abigail, Adams had his own—though so far as I know she was never referred to as such. It was a halfway house on the road to women’s equality, an authoritative position for those whose social status was still subordinate.

Gordon-Reed has criticized biographers who insist that it is “ridiculous even to consider the notion that Thomas Jefferson could ever have been under the positive influence of an insignificant black slave woman.” Ironically, Adams’ sarcastic allusion conjures up the possibility. Did Sally Hemings, Jefferson’s French-speaking bedmate and well-organized keeper of his private chambers, also serve as his guide and counselor—his Egeria? The question is, from the evidence we have, unanswerable.

In the last book of his Metamorfoses, Ovid portrays Egeria as so inconsolable after the death of Numa that the goddess Diana turns her into a spring of running water. When Jefferson died in 1826, he and Hemings, like Numa and Egeria, had to all intents and purposes been married for four decades. Not long afterward, his daughter Martha freed Hemings from slavery, as her children had been freed before her.

We do not know if, as she celebrated her liberation, she also mourned her loss. But we can be confident that her name, like Egeria’s, will forever be linked with her eminent spouse, as John Adams predicted.

About Mark Silk

Mark Silk is a professor and the director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College. A former reporter and editorial writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he is the author of several books on religion in contemporary America and is a senior columnist for the Religion News Service.


Sally Hemings

Nossos editores irão revisar o que você enviou e determinar se o artigo deve ser revisado.

Sally Hemings, (born 1773, Charles City county, Virginia [U.S.]—died 1835, Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.), American slave who was owned by U.S. Pres. Thomas Jefferson and is widely believed to have had a relationship with him that resulted in several children.

Hemings, known as Sally but who was likely named Sarah, was born into slavery to a white father, John Wayles, and his mulatto slave, Elizabeth Hemings. According to oral history passed down through the Hemings family, Elizabeth was the daughter of a white sea captain named Hemings and an African slave owned by Wayles. Sally was thus three-fourths white. When Wayles died in 1773, Elizabeth and her children were inherited by Martha Jefferson, who was Wayles’s daughter by Martha Eppes Wayles and the wife of Thomas Jefferson. The Hemings family was sent to Monticello, Jefferson’s farm and estate in Virginia, where they were given positions as house slaves.

Two years after Martha’s death in 1782, Jefferson went to France to serve as a diplomat. In 1787 he sent for his youngest daughter, Maria, who was escorted by Hemings, then 14 years old. It was during that time that an intimate relationship between Hemings and Jefferson is thought to have begun. In 1789 Jefferson and Hemings returned to the United States. She resumed her work at Monticello, and Jefferson’s records noted that, over the next two decades, she gave birth to six children. Harriet was born in 1795 but lived only two years. Hemings gave birth to a son, Beverly, in 1798 and another daughter named Harriet, in 1801. An unnamed daughter was born in 1799 but died in infancy. Hemings later had two sons, Madison and Eston, who were born in 1805 and 1808, respectively. Some have claimed that Hemings’s first child was Thomas C. Woodson, born in 1790. However, there is no evidence that Hemings had a child that year—notably, Jefferson never noted the birth—and later DNA tests revealed that he was not the father.

In Jefferson’s records from 1822, Harriet and Beverly were listed as runaways, but they actually were allowed to leave freely. Their light-coloured skin helped them blend into the white world of Washington, D.C. Madison and Eston were freed in 1826 at the time of Jefferson’s death. Hemings was not mentioned in Jefferson’s will. In 1827 she was listed as a slave on the official slave inventory of the Jefferson estate and valued at $50. It later appears that she received unofficial freedom from Jefferson’s daughter Martha, and Hemings lived the rest of her life with her sons Madison and Eston in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The first public mention of Hemings came in 1802, when The Recorder newspaper published an article by James Callender, an adversary of Jefferson, who claimed a relationship between her and Jefferson. Jefferson never responded to the allegations, which became the source of much debate and speculation. Although some of his white descendants later denied the claims—Peter Carr, a nephew of Jefferson, was often cited as the father of Hemings’s children—Hemings’s descendants argued, on the basis of oral history and an 1873 memoir by Madison Hemings, that Jefferson was the father. With conflicting and inconclusive evidence, the majority of scholars found the allegations unlikely. In 1998, however, DNA samples were gathered from living descendants of Jefferson and Hemings, and the subsequent tests revealed that Jefferson was almost certainly the father of some of Hemings’s children Carr was ruled out. Although the scholarly consensus became that Jefferson and Hemings were sexual partners, some, citing the lack of scientific certainty, continued to contest Jefferson’s paternity. (Ver “Tom and Sally”: the Jefferson-Hemings paternity debate.)

Este artigo foi revisado e atualizado mais recentemente por Amy Tikkanen, Gerente de Correções.


Did Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson Love Each Other?

In the years since the publication of my book Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, I have traveled throughout the United States and overseas talking about them—and life and slavery at Monticello. Writers are, in the main, solitary creatures. Or, at least, the process of writing forces us into solitude for long stretches of time I find it refreshing and gratifying to meet people who have read one’s work (or plan to) and have questions, observations, and opinions about it. In all the venues I have visited, from Houston to Stockholm, one question always arises: Did they love each other?

To call this a loaded question does not begin to do justice to the matter, given America’s tortured racial history and its haunting legacy. To be on the receiving end of that question is to be thrown into a large minefield. It is even worse for someone who is considered an expert on Hemings and Jefferson. You wrote the book about them, didn’t you?

Part of a historian’s job is to try to navigate the gap stretching between those who lived in the past and those who live today, especially pointing out the important differences. At the same time, it remains equally important to recognize and give due consideration to those points of commonality that the past the present share. While there’s truth in the old saying that the past is a foreign country, anyone visiting a foreign land also encounters many familiar sights, rituals, and behaviors, because the basic realities of the human condition remain the same.

See the essay in the June 1972 American Heritage, "The Great Jefferson Taboo" by Fawn Brody, which reignited the controversy over Jefferson and Hemings

What does this mean for Sally and Thomas, the enslaved woman and the man who owned her? Their legal relationship to one another—and the world they shared—is strange to us today. Certainly people suffer oppression today: many work for little or no pay, while countless women and children are forced into prostitution. Yet this cannot match the horrific nature of America’s racially-based chattel slavery, in which a person’s children were enslaved in perpetuity unless an owner decided to give up his or her ownership of that person. What love could exist between a man and a woman enmeshed in—and negotiation the rules of—that world? And what difference does it make if they “loved” each other? Why are members of my audience so intent on knowing that?

The question about Hemings and Jefferson, of course, does not arise from a vacuum. We modern people have a history, so to speak, with love, especially of the romantic kind. Not other human emotion excites such passionate interest and longing or gives rise to such high expectations at all levels of society. Songs tell us that “love” is “the answer” to almost everything that ails us: war, famine, disease, and racial prejudice. Love is all we need.

Indeed, I suspect that love’s supposed capacity to heal lies at the heart of people’s interest in Hemings and Jefferson. And he is the prime focus of the inquiry. My impression from talking with people and reading the letters they writing to me, not to mention the many operas, plays, screenplays, and proposals for novels they send, is that Jefferson’s love for Hemings could somehow redeem and heal him. Thomas Jefferson—in need of redemption?

As much as we admire the author of the Declaration of Independence and the two-term U.S. president, a man who doubled the size of the nation, sent Lewis and Clark west, founded the University of Virginia, championed religious freedom, and acted as an all-around renaissance man, Jefferson the slaveholder poses a great challenge. He publicly aired his suspicions that the mental capacity of blacks was inferior to whites’, not exactly as a popular believe in a society that claims (note the operative word “claims”) to find such notions completely abhorrent. For some, the knowledge that Jefferson had loved the enslaved African American woman with whom he had seven children would rescue him from the depravity of having been a slave owner who made disparaging comments about blacks—perhaps not totally exonerating him, but in some small but important way moderating the disturbing facts. That much-longed for human connection would have worked its magic.

Love, which remains extremely difficult to capture and define today or in the past, poses a major hurdle in sorting out the nature of their relationship. Speaking of love in the context of a master-slave relationship is even more difficult, given the moral and political implications. After all, the idea of “love” was used during the antebellum period and afterward as a defense of slavery. Apologists for the peculiar institution claimed that a genuine “love” existed between the races during slavery, putting the lie to northern abolitionists’ claim that the institution was evil and exploitative. Southern slaveholders often pointed to their affection for their individual “mammies” and the supposedly deep ties they formed with their enslaved playmates (of the same sex, of course) on the plantation. Significantly, they never spoke about the possibility of love and regular heterosexual relationships between males and females of mixed races. That type of love was taboo then, and it has remained discomfiting to many Americans even into the 21st century.

Then there’s the question of consent and rape. While Martha Jefferson had given her perpetual consent to sexual relations with her husband by the act of marrying him—there was no such thing as marital rape—Jefferson owned his wife’s half sister, Sally, in a completely different way. Being a man’s wife was not the same thing as being a man’s slave, even if Sally and Thomas’s relationship had begun under unusual circumstances. They became involved while Jefferson was serving as the American minister to France. Under French law, Hemings would have had a clear route to freedom had she chosen it. Instead, she agreed to return to America with him, placing herself entirely under his power. At any time, Jefferson had the right to sell her and their children if he wanted to.

White males, not just slave owners—exercised inordinate power over black women during slavery. Rape and the threat of it blighted the lives of countless enslaved women. At the same time, some black women and white men did form bonds quite different in character than from those resulting from sexual coercion. No social system can ever stamp out all the constitutive aspects of the human character. Heterosexual men and women thrown together in intimate circumstances will become attracted to one another.

Consider how Hemings and Jefferson lived at the Hôtel de Langeac in Paris between 1787 and 1789. What parents would send their pretty teenaged daughter to live in a house with a lonely, middle-aged widower whose daughters spent all week away at boarding school—and place him in charge of her well-being? Jefferson would never have allowed his daughters Patsy and Polly to live under such a situation unless a female chaperone was present. The question of appropriateness never came up with Sally Hemings, because she was a slave. Her mother, Elizabeth Hemings, had no say in the matter, just another of the countless reasons why slavery was an inhumane institution.

Suggesting that their possible feelings for one another made a difference is a romantic notion

So what do I say to people about Hemings, Jefferson, and love? I am ever mindful of the dangers of romanticizing the pair. Apologists for slavery have not all gone away, and they will fasten onto any story that appears to “soften” the harsh contours of that institution and mitigate southern slaveholder guilt. I believe, however, that saying that they may have loved each other is not romantic. Suggesting that their possible feelings for one another made a difference is a romantic notion. I am not one who believes that “love” is the answer to everything. Strong emotions that two individuals may have had cannot mitigate the problem of slavery or Jefferson’s specific role as a slave owner.

Other factors make it difficult to determine the nature of their relationship. Neither spoke publicly about it, leaving us only to draw inferences. We do know that Jefferson bargained intensely with Hemings to return to America, promising her a good life at Monticello and freedom for her children when they became adults. Was that merely in-the-moment lust? While lust can last minutes, months, or even a few years, it cannot typically span the decades during which they were involved. It simply takes more than lust to sustain an interest in another person over such an extended time period.

In addition, Jefferson had access to many other women at Monticello who could have satisfied his carnal interests. Yet, so far as the record shows, he remained fixated on Sally Hemings, arranging her life at Monticello so that she interacted with him on a daily basis for almost four decades. Despite the brutal public attention focused on the pair after James Callender exposed their relationship in 1802, Jefferson continued to have children with Hemings. Their children—James Madison, Thomas Eston, William Beverly, and Harriet—were named for people important to him. His white daughter was said to have wanted Jefferson to send Hemings and their children away so as to spare him further embarrassment. He declined.

Judging Hemings’s feelings about Jefferson proves more difficult, because she exercised no legal power over him. While she did abandon her plan to stay in France and then came home to live and have children with him, Hemings may well have had second thoughts about leaving her large and intensely connected family back home. Several of their great-grandchildren explain that Hemings returned to America because Jefferson “loved her dearly,” as if that meant something to her. Upon their return, Hemings’s relatives, both enslaved and free, behaved as if Jefferson was an in-law of sorts. After he died in 1826, Hemings left Monticello with several of Jefferson’s personal items, including pairs of his glasses, an inkwell, and shoe buckles, which she gave to her children as mementos.

While marriage is generally taken as a proof of love between a given man and woman, the quality of the relationship between couples who are not married, or cannot marry because of legal restrictions, may be better than that of men and women whose unions are recognized by law.

The most that can be said is that Hemings and Jefferson lived together over many years and had seven children, four of whom lived to adulthood. Jefferson kept his promises to Hemings, and their offspring got a four-decade head start on emancipation, making the most of it by leading prosperous and stable lives. That, I think, is about as much as one can expect from love in the context of life during American slavery.


2 thoughts on &ldquo Sally Hemmings &rdquo

I am not sure that we can say that it was outstanding for Hemings to return to the U.S. with Jefferson. I feel like it is always better to be free than enslaved and she could have had a better life had she stayed in Paris, where she would have been given greater rights. While she may have consensually entered a relationship with Jefferson, I find it puzzling that he did not free her. If he really respected her and valued her, then he wouldn’t have continued to hold her as his slave after they had been in a relationship.

I am beyond fascinated with this blog post. I find it so interesting considering that my maternal grandmother was born in France but she was forced to come to america as a teenager and married a black man so my mother and my aunts and uncles are all mixed. Also that my paternal grandmother owned slaves and my grandfather happen to be one of her family’s slaves. So this kind of hit home for me.


Crianças

Of the seven children born to Hemings over the next two decades, only four (five, according to Woodson&aposs descendants) lived to adulthood. Her second child, Harriet, died after only two years. Beverly (a son), born in 1798, left Monticello in 1822 and moved to Washington, D.C., where he lived as a white man. A second, unnamed daughter died in infancy. Harriet, born in 1801 and named for the first lost daughter, moved away near the same time as Beverly and also entered white society. Hemings&apos youngest children, Madison and Eston (born in 1805 and 1808,  respectively) were freed by order of Jefferson’s will in 1826. While Madison Hemings lived as a Black man (first in Virginia and later in Ohio) all his life, his brother Eston changed his name to Jefferson and began living as a white man in Wisconsin at the age of 44.

Jefferson, in fact, freed all of Hemings&apos children ironically, however, he never freed Hemings herself. After Jefferson&aposs death, she remained at Monticello for two years, after which Martha Jefferson (acting on her father&aposs wishes) gave her "her time," a form of unofficial freedom that allowed her to remain in Virginia (freed enslaved people were required by Virginia law to leave the state after a year). Before his death, Jefferson had also arranged for Madison and Eston Hemings to be allowed to stay in Virginia. After leaving Monticello, Hemings moved with her two youngest sons to nearby Charlottesville, Virginia, where she died in 1835.


Sally Hemings wasn’t Thomas Jefferson’s mistress. She was his property.


The room at Monticello where Sally Hemings is believed to have lived. (Norm Shafer/For The Washington Post)

Archaeologists at Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia plantation, Monticello, are unearthing the room where Sally Hemings is believed to have lived, allowing for a new way to tell the story of the enslaved people who served our third president. The excavation has once again reminded us that 241 years after the United States was founded, many Americans still don’t know how to reconcile one of our nation’s original sins with the story of its Founding Fathers.

Just before the Fourth of July, NBC News ran a feature on the room, setting off a spate of coverage about the dig. Many of these stories described Hemings, the mother of six children with Jefferson, as the former president’s “mistress.” The Inquisitr, the Daily Mail, AOL and Cox Media Group all used the word (though Cox later updated its wording). So did an NBC News tweet that drew scathing criticism, though its story accurately called her “the enslaved woman who, historians believe, gave birth to six of Jefferson’s children.” The Washington Post also used “mistress” in a headline and a tweet about Hemings’s room in February.

Language like that elides the true nature of their relationship, which is believed to have begun when Hemings, then 14 years old, accompanied Jefferson’s daughter to live with Jefferson, then 44, in Paris. She wasn’t Jefferson’s mistress she was his property. And he raped her.

Such revisionist history about slavery is, unfortunately, still quite common. In 2015, Texas rolled out what many saw as a “whitewashed ” version of its social studies curriculum that referred to enslaved Africans as “immigrants” and “workers” and minimized slavery’s impact on the Civil War. One concerned parent spoke out, forcing a textbook publisher to revise some of the teaching materials.

In a speech at the Democratic National Convention last year, Michelle Obama reminded Americans that no less a symbol of our government than the White House was built by those in bondage. In response, then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly offered a softer, gentler take: Those enslaved workers were “well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government,” he said. That they had no choice in their food, lodging or whether they even wanted to do the backbreaking work of building Washington by hand was nowhere to be found in O’Reilly’s version.

That same sanitization of history happened again with the Hemings news. On Twitter, some users defended the “mistress” label, suggesting, essentially, that Jefferson and his slave may have truly loved each other. One person even went so far as to wonder whether “Hemings’s exalted wisdom and beauty compelled Jefferson’s love” and whether “she was perhaps not a victim but an agent of change?”

Jefferson could have forced Hemings into a sexual relationship no matter what she wanted, though. And it’s impossible to know what Hemings thought of Jefferson. As with many enslaved people, her thoughts, feelings and emotions were not documented. According to Monticello.org, there are only four known descriptions of the woman who first came to Jefferson’s plantation as a baby on the hip of her mother, Elizabeth Hemings, whom Jefferson also owned.

Jefferson, an avid writer, never mentioned Hemings in his work. He did, however, grapple with issues of emancipation throughout his life. In his “Notes on the State of Virginia,” Jefferson spent a substantial section attempting to answer the question, “Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expence [sic] of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave?” Despite fathering Hemings’s children, Jefferson argued against race mixing because black people were “inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.”

Other slave-owning founders rose above the times to change their minds about the dreadful institution — including Ben Franklin, who became an outspoken abolitionist later in life, and George Washington, who freed his enslaved servants in his will. But Jefferson did no such thing. He owned 607 men, women and children at Monticello, and though some argue that he “loved” Hemings, he granted freedom to only two people while he was alive and five people in his will — and never to her.

Romanticizing Hemings and Jefferson’s so-called relationship minimizes the deadly imbalance of power that black people suffered under before the Civil War. It also obscures our collective history as a nation that moved from being built on the blood, bones and backs of enslaved African Americans and indigenous people, to being the imperfect, hopeful and yet still unequal country we are today.


Assista o vídeo: Love Song Sally Mix DJ KHOOLOT EXCLUSIVE Remixes