Dana Goldstein, inspired by the story of the McCain organizer involved in keeping the Jefferson family all-white, offers us a bit of background on the increasingly cut-and-dry case that Thomas Jefferson is the father of Sally Hemmings' children:

Conclusive DNA evidence linking Jefferson or one of his brothers to the black Hemings line has existed since 1998. In 2000, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation concluded it was likely that Jefferson himself fathered all six of his slave Sally Hemings' children. The dates of their births correspond quite neatly to nine months after the rare times Jefferson and Hemings were simultaneously at the estate. And historical documents indicate, the foundation found, that "several people close to Thomas Jefferson or the Monticello community believed that he was the father of Sally Hemings' children."



I'm not really a Jefferson admirer (though Monticello is definitely worth visiting) so I'm not sure I sympathize all that much with the desire to secure acknowledgment as an official descendant. But the desire to deny such acknowledgment is substantially more baffling.

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