Americans look at Thomas Jefferson and see the one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence, a statesman, a former president and one of the founding fathers,’ however; when I look at him, I see the face of a rapist.
When Jefferson first met Sally Hemings, his slave through inheritance, she would have been no more than 15 or 16 years old.
It is rumoured that when she returned from France with him, that she was already pregnant with his child.
You see, Sally was 3/4 white and was described as a handsome light skinned woman with long dark hair in one of the few known descriptions of her.
Jefferson’s children through his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, denied the relationship, however; Jefferson himself did not publicly answer the rumours.
The only slaves that Jefferson freed were the children of Hemings and he petitioned the government for two of her sons to stay in Virginia after emancipation.
At the time, a slave had to leave the state within one year of manumission.
Assuming that Sally had chosen to stay in Paris, what would an uneducated 1/4 negresss do with no money to support herself and her unborn child?
She chose to return because Jefferson gave his word that he would free her children and offer her a life of comfort relative to the other slaves at Monticello.Jefferson may have felt love for Sally but how can we possibly term this relationship a love affair?There are those that to this day vehemently deny that Jefferson fathered Sally’s six children despite the DNA evidence.It is my belief that such denial is not based in the simple fact that it would prove that he was a lecher but that he chose a woman of color.On the other side of the coin are those that believe the oral, written, and DNA evidence.They often refer to the relationship as an illicit love affair, citing that Sally had the opportunity to stay in France where slavery was outlawed, rather than returning to the United States with Jefferson.