Ask a Slave

If this hasn’t already gone viral, it’s about to. Funny, funny stuff from Azie Mira Dungey, an actress who played the Washington’s house slave, Lizzie Mae, at the Mount Vernon historical site. The questions are actual things people have asked her. The only minor annoyance is the “Jefferson had sex with his slaves” line (a slander by an enemy now treated as fact). The third episode is the best:

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Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • maddermusic

    You saying Jefferson didn’t have an affair with Sally Hemings?

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Are you saying there is historical proof that he did? Because the DNA thing? That’s not proof.

  • Sagrav

    There is substantial genetic evidence of Jefferson’s sexual relations with his slaves:

    “The results of DNA tests conducted by Dr. Eugene Foster and a team of geneticists in 1998 challenged the view that the Jefferson-Hemings relationship could be neither refuted nor substantiated . The study–which tested Y-chromosomal DNA samples from male-line descendants of Field Jefferson (Thomas Jefferson’s uncle), John Carr (grandfather of Jefferson’s Carr nephews), Eston Hemings, and Thomas Woodson–indicated a genetic link between the Jefferson and Hemings descendants. The results of the study established that an individual carrying the male Jefferson Y chromosome fathered Eston Hemings (born 1808), the last known child born to Sally Hemings. There were approximately 25 adult male Jeffersons who carried this chromosome living in Virginia at that time, and a few of them are known to have visited Monticello. The study’s authors, however, said “the simplest and most probable” conclusion was that Thomas Jefferson had fathered Eston Hemings.”

    “…Shortly after the DNA test results were released in November 1998, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation formed a research committee consisting of nine members of the foundation staff, including four with Ph.D.s. In January 2000, the committeereported that the weight of all known evidence–from the DNA study, original documents, written and oral historical accounts, and statistical data–indicated a high probability that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Eston Hemings, and that he was likely the father of all six of Sally Hemings’s children listed in Monticello records–Harriet (born 1795; died in infancy); Beverly (born 1798); an unnamed daughter (born 1799; died in infancy); Harriet (born 1801); Madison (born 1805); and Eston (born 1808).”


  • maddermusic

    Just now seeing this. I note that the very Wikipedia article you cite says that the majority of historians now believe that Jefferson did father children with Sally Hemings. I have no particular dog in the fight. I just thought that the matter had been settled long ago. Looks like I was right…