Spring 2018 | CUNY Graduate Center | IDS 70100: Introduction to Queer Studies


Black Studies/Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings Folder (Melanie Chin)

Here are some black studies texts that were used last semester in the methods class.  I have managed to salvage over 10 texts when I was an undergrad many moons ago.  I studied the Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings story.  I have placed them in Dropbox under the folder “Black Studies”.

Jefferson-Hemings Brief History

The Jeffersons, indentured servant, Hemings was a half black sister to Jeffersons wife, Martha Jefferson.  Martha’s father, John Wayles was a slave trader, lawyer and planter.  Sally’s mother, Betty was a mulatto slave of who had 10 children by Wayles.   Martha and Hemings came from an elite family.

Part of Marthas inherence was to receive her fathers slaves.  Martha was often jealous of Sally because Thomas often devoted more time to her.  Thomas had built a lavish home complete with servants for Sally and their children on the plantation where they studied the arts.  The children passed for white and they were free slaves by Thomas when they were old enough to leave the plantation.  However, Sally was not free because cause she was black.  Moreover, Thomas did not allow Sally to leave because he loved her and she loved him.  Martha died before, Thomas which allowed the relationship between him and Sally to progress more.  After Thomas died, Sally became a free slave.  The plantation was inherited Thomas and Martha’s two  surviving children, Martha and Mary.

New Yorker, Shannon LaNier is a direct decedent of Thomas and Sally.  He has written one or two books about his heritage as well as many interviews.


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