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Topic - Sally Hemings
Thomas Jefferson's elder daughter and only long-surviving child, Martha, deserves a biography for two reasons, says historian Cynthia A. Kierner, the author of this prodigiously researched and beautifully written book.
Thomas Jefferson wrote "all men are created equal" to declare U.S. independence from Britain, yet he was also a lifelong slave owner who freed only nine of his more than 600 slaves during his lifetime.
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.
Shannon Lanier, 32, of New York City, a ninth generation descendant of Jefferson and Hemings through their son Madison Hemings, said he has known about his ancestors for years from stories told by his mother and grandmother.