Tags: sally hemings | monticello | slave | quarters

Sally Hemings' Monticello Slave Quarters Discovered

Image: Sally Hemings' Monticello Slave Quarters Discovered

A photo taken on February 5, 2014, shows Monticello, the residence of one of the U.S. Founding Fathers and former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 04 Jul 2017 06:44 AM

Archaeologists working at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello mansion have discovered the slave quarters of Sally Hemings, a slave believed to have had six children fathered by Jefferson.

Hemings’ living quarters next to Jefferson’s bedroom was a 14- by 13-foot room with a brick fireplace, NBC News reported, adding the space had been converted into a men’s bathroom in 1941, then renovated in the late 1960s.

As historical data about Hemings came to the forefront, archaeologists decided to tackle the space and see what they could find.

The third president and chief writer of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal,” but he owned 600 slaves during his lifetime on his Virginia plantation.

Whether Jefferson fathered any of Hemings’ children was hotly debated in the late 1990s until a DNA test showed that the man who was previously thought to be the children’s father was not genetically linked to them, while a male in the Jefferson line did have a DNA connection to them, Salon reported. While the DNA test does not prove Jefferson’s paternity conclusively, it makes it highly likely.

Some of the children might have been born in the room in Monticello, Salon reported. It was said to be above the usual level of slaves’ quarters, but was still windowless and small, NBC reported.

A descendant of Hemings, Gayle Jessup White, currently works as Monticello’s Community Engagement Officer.

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Archaeologists working at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello mansion have discovered the slave quarters of Sally Hemings, a slave believed to have had six children fathered by Jefferson.
sally hemings, monticello, slave, quarters
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2017-44-04
Tuesday, 04 Jul 2017 06:44 AM
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