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By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Robert F. Turner
In a book due out Thursday, eminent scholars say it's unlikely that Thomas Jefferson fathered Sally Hemings' children, disputing a decade's worth of conventional wisdom that the author of the Declaration of Independence sired offspring with one of his slaves.
In announcing the book's release, Mr. Turner said he is challenging scholars on the other side of the issue to debate the matter publicly.
"It is true that Sally's sons Madison and Eston were freed in Jefferson's will, but so were all but two of the sons and grandsons of Sally's mother Betty Hemings who still belonged to Thomas Jefferson at the time of his death. Sally's sons received by far the least favorable treatment of those freed in Thomas Jefferson's will," said Robert F. Turner, a former professor at the University of Virginia who served as chairman of the commission.