Dialogue Program

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Thomas and Sally Hemmings

Sep 22, 2014

Annette Gordon-Reed is Associate Professor of Law at New York University Law School.

The relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings has been a vexing issue for American society for two hundred years. For many, acceptance of the liaison would mark an inadmissible slight on the legacy of the most luminous founding father. Yet the circumstantial evidence mounted and, as 1998 drew to a close, science--in the form of DNA findings--lent credence to the speculation about a tie. Annette Gordon-Reed, whose legal and scholarly training supported her book "Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy," argues for the probability of a bond between the two.

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