Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings Chronology—the Jefferson-Hemings Relationship • (adapted from Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello. New York: W. W. Norton.) • 1735: Elizabeth Hemings (EH) (mother of Sally Hemings) is born; she is a slave of the Eppes family in VA • 1746: Martha Eppes marries John Wayles; • 1748: Martha Wayles is born (future wife of Thomas Jefferson); Martha Eppes dies and leaves EH the property of John Wayles • 1762-70: EH gives birth to five children by John Wayles (her master) • 1772: Martha Wayles marries Thomas Jefferson (TJ) • 1773: Sally Hemings born (the last child of EH and John Wayles) • NB: Sally Hemings (SH), therefore, is the half sister of Martha Jefferson, TJ’s wife! Chronology—the Jefferson-Hemings Relationship • 1782: Martha Jefferson dies at Monticello; Jefferson promises Martha on her deathbed that he will never marry again; Sally Hemings present. • 1784: TJ and James Hemings (Sally’s older brother, also Martha’s half-brother) go to Paris, France • 1787: SH joins TJ and her brother James in Paris; her assignment is to tend to TJ’s youngest daughter, but SH also works as TJ’s chambermaid. • 1789: When SH balks at returning to America (she would be freed, under French law, if she had staid in Paris), TJ promises her a good life and freedom of their children when they become adults. JH and SH return to Monticello in December. • 1790: SH gives birth to her first child (with TJ). The infant dies. Chronology—the Jefferson-Hemings Relationship • 1793: Thomas Jefferson puts his agreement to free James Hemings in writing; JH becomes legally free in 1796; JH later turns down TJ’s request to become chef at the White House; in 1801, JH commits suicide. • 1795: Harriet Hemings I, daughter of SH and TJ is born at Monticello. Harriet dies in 1797. • NB: All of SH and TJ’s children, therefore, are cousins as well as siblings of TJ’s white children with his wife Martha… • 1798: William Beverly Hemings, son of SH and TJ is born at • 1799: first published allusions to TJ and SH’s relationship appear in the press • 1800: SH and TJ’s daughter Harriet II born at Monticello • 1802: James Callender exposes the relationship between SH and TJ. • 1805: James Madison Hemings, 2nd son of SH and TJ is born at Monticello. Chronology—the Jefferson-Hemings Relationship • 1807: Elizabeth Hemings, Sally’s mother, dies at Monticello (she remained a slave…) • 1808: Thomas Eston Hemings, the last child of SH and TJ, is born at Monticello. • 1809: TJ retires from public life; stays at Monticello • 1810-26: SH and TJ’s children learn various trades at Monticello • 1822: Beverly and Harriet freed; they leave Monticello to live as white people. • 1826: TJ drafts a will that formally frees his sons Madison and Eston Hemings. TJ dies on July 4, 1776 • SH, Madison, and Eston move to Charlottesville, VA. • 1831: Monticello, along with many of TJ’s slaves, is sold at auction to pay for TJ’s large debt. • No date of SH’s death is officially recorded. Madison claimed she died in 1835, though some other reports of travelers to Charlottesville claim to have seen her as late as 1837. Jefferson’s Blood. PBS Frontline Documentary • http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/jefferson/vi ew/ In his own words: Thomas Jefferson on Slavery and Race • Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Paris, 1785 [private edition]; London, 1787). • Query 14: Laws (see handout!) Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings in Paris • Jefferson in Paris. Director, James Ivory. 1995 William Wells Brown, Clotel, or, The President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States. 1853. • Questions: • What is the relationship between fiction and non-fiction in Brown’s novel, i.e. how does Brown combine a fictional story with the facts and reality of slavery? (“fiction founded in truth”) • What is the significance/function of Brown’s autobiographical account? How does the fictional account return to specific paradigms set up in the autobiographical narrative (e.g. the selling of blood relatives by white masters)? • Why does Brown choose to write fiction, rather than nonfiction anti-slavery tracts? • How does he cast/re-cast the stock figure of the “tragic mulatta” and other figures? William Wells Brown, Clotel, or, The President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States. 1853. • Questions—Continued: • Does the formal difficulty of the novel (e.g. its lack of unity) have a correlative in the ideas that are conveyed? • How does the novel play with the meanings of freedom? • In how far does the important theme of the separation of families comment on 19th-century ideals of domesticity, family values, marriage, virtue, etc.? • How does Brown use but also undermine the discourse of sentimentalism in 19th-century culture and fiction? • What does the novel say about the ways in which slavery undermines the important notion of republican virtue? How does it topple/deconstruct the ideals of a nation built on virtue, sentiment, education, Republican womanhood, religion, authority of the people, etc….?