hemings, sally

Cultural Dictionary

Hemings, Sally definition


A slave who was owned by Thomas Jefferson. Based on recent evidence from DNA and from the timing of Jefferson's visits to Monticello, most scholars now think it probable that Jefferson, a widower, was the father of one and possibly more of her four surviving children.

Note: The allegation that Jefferson had a slave mistress circulated among his political opponents during his life and has long been voiced by many African-Americans. Until recently, most historians dismissed it because there was no corroborating evidence.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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