Skip to comments.Bill Moyers Marks July 4 By Repeating Myth That Jefferson Sired Children With His Slaves
Posted on 07/05/2012 1:42:45 PM PDT by Kaslin
It's somehow not enough that longtime PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers has to join his fellow leftists in denouncing America's origins for Independence Day. But the supposedly probing journalist descended to spreading the historical myth that Thomas Jefferson sired slave children with Sally Hemings.
He hasn't read the books of Jefferson scholars denouncing these tales as "An American Travesty"? Moyers also scooped this refuse on his latest PBS show Moyers & Company.
On Alternet, the Moyers column was titled "Celebrating An Unfinished Revolution."
The founders surely knew that when they let these ideas loose in the world, they could never again be caged.
Yet from the beginning, these sentiments were also a thorn in our side, a reminder of the new nation's divided soul. Opponents, who still sided with Britain, greeted it with sarcasm. How can you declare "All men are created equal," without freeing your slaves?
Jefferson himself was an aristocrat whose inheritance of 5,000 acres, and the slaves to work it, mocked his eloquent notion of equality. He acknowledged that slavery degraded master and slave alike, but would not give his own slaves their freedom. Their labor kept him financially afloat. Hundreds of slaves, forced like beasts of burden to toil from sunrise to sunset under threat of the lash, enabled him to thrive as a privileged gentleman, to pursue his intellectual interests, and to rise in politics.
Even the children born to him by the slave Sally Hemings remained slaves, as did their mother. Only an obscure provision in his will released his children after his death. All the others -- scores of slaves -- were sold to pay off his debts...
Yes, Thomas Jefferson possessed "a happy talent for composition," but he employed it for cross purposes. Whatever he was thinking when he wrote "all men are created equal," he also believed black people were inferior to white people. Inferior, he wrote, "to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind." To read his argument today is to enter the pathology of white superiority that attended the birth of our nation.
On the PBS show on June 29, Moyers decried "cream and peaches history," as if he's actually shoveling history instead of bunk about Thomas Jefferson:
BILL MOYERS: Why do politicians whitewash history?
KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD: Because it helps them get elected. Why else do politicians do what they do?
MOYERS: How does it help them get elected though? Does it mean-- you mean we the voters like our cream and peaches history?
MUHAMMAD: Just like black folks like celebrating -- having barbecue and shootin' fireworks on the 4th of July without any, you know, sense of contradiction in that moment. People want to be happy. People want to celebrate. People want to feel a sense of belonging. And so when politicians craft stories that remove the ugly aspects of the past, which, you know, are really ugly. I mean, there's just no way around them. They are feeding that desire, that sense of belonging, that sense that we are a good people by nature.
Then we were told America is just as deeply racist now as it was many decades ago, citing a study of "stop and frisk" policies that discriminated against black and Latino youth in New York:
MOYERS: It was -- it's amazing to me, astonishing to go through here and find so much of the evidence you've collected. You have even President Roosevelt telling black college graduates in 1904 that, quote, "Criminality is in the ultimate analysis a greater danger to your race than any other thing can be." And one sociologist after another saying, "You blacks are your own worst enemies, because of your criminal--"
MUHAMMAD: That's right.
MOYERS: "--nature." And that took hold in the ideology of dominant America, did it not?
MUHAMMAD: And that's the same dominant ideology that we have today. I mean, it's not packaged in the same explicit rhetoric. But it has given birth to policies like stop, question, and frisk that Mayor Bloomberg has --consistently defends, Ray Kelly consistently defends. Policies such as mass incarceration.
We are still living with the same basic ideas and arguments about the relationship between black criminality and social responsibility, between segregation and public safety today as we were in the 1890s in this country.
This all led Moyers to conclude:
MOYERS: So given the weight of history that you carry with you as a scholar and as a human being, given the heavy hand of history on our backs, how are you going to celebrate the Fourth of July? Seriously. Can you be unaware of all this when you're having that barbecue?
MUHAMMAD: This is a culture of escapism. Let's not forget this. So I probably will go see some blockbuster Hollywood movie in the serenity of air conditioning and hot, buttered popcorn, and take the day off from the weight of history.
MOYERS: Ah, America, right? Thank you very much.
The man just won't give them a break.
I can hardly believe that falling down drunk Moyers is still on the air.
Sooner or later, you run out of fresh material.
Whether or not Jefferson sired children with Hennings is debatable, which by definition means it is not myth. Labeling it a myth is every bit the lie as the lie that it is fact.
“Ah, America, right? “
A bitter, broken down, old liberal who has made millions by hating America. All my “intellectual” friends thinks this D-bag walks on water. Give me a Paul Harvey any day over this poison.
Moyers is an Obama media group drone.
“Bill Moyers (born June 5, 1934) is an American journalist and public commentator. He served as White House Press Secretary in the Johnson administration from 1965 to 1967. “
Allegations of bias
Bush-appointee Corporation for Public Broadcasting chairman Kenneth Tomlinson was a regular critic of Moyers; in 2003, he wrote to Pat Mitchell, the president of PBS, that “[NOW with Bill Moyers] does not contain anything approaching the balance the law requires for public broadcasting.” In 2005, Tomlinson commissioned a study of the show, without informing or getting authorization from the CPB board. Tomlinson said that the study supported what he characterized as “the image of the left-wing bias of NOW”. George Neumayr, the executive editor of The American Spectator, a conservative magazine, told the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that “PBS looks like a liberal monopoly to me, and Bill Moyers is Exhibit A of that very strident left-wing bias... [Moyers] uses his show as a platform from which to attack conservatives and Republicans.” Wipedia
Blacks need to check out Dr. Walter E. Williams.
“I think that ‘African-Americans for Obama’ is divisive and despicable. There’s one standard we hold whites up to, and another that we hold blacks up to — which is lower. Imagine the uproar if Romney started ‘Whites for Mitt.’” -Dr. Williams
It is not just Bill Moyers. Just about any media source will state the same thing as if it is proven fact.
You would probably be surprised how many also will state that Cleopatra was Black.
Let’s assume that he did sire children with her (which I seriously doubt in that there were some very nice looking white women around in that day). Did it improve their gene pool? You can pretty much take that for granted and they should be thanking Jefferson and not criticizing him.
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Nothing on this earth more pathetic than an old Red who has wasted a long life being an ass for the Left.
I agree. It seems pretty likely that there were some Jefferson children amongst the slaves.
I by no means seek to deny the truth of some of the ugliness in America’s past.
The problem with liberals is that they fail to admit that we have self-corrected our nation’s problems in a remarkably short time.
“People want to celebrate. People want to feel a sense of belonging.”
This was used as an explanation of how we could POSSIBLY celebrate our nation’s founding. I would change “want” to “ought.”
It seems the more we “progress”... the more the left tries to insist we live in the past.
Sally Hemmings was the half-sister of Jefferson's dead wife.
“Nothing on this earth more pathetic than an old Red who has wasted a long life being an ass for the Left.”
...who is firther, being paid with tax dollars coerced from conservatives.
It is time to ask even if true SO WHAT? Slaves were property to be used as the master required.(The left should love that statement.)
As long as conservative American continues to send the majority of their children to commie union teacher run public schools this deconstruction of the foundation of the country and the demeaning of the founders will only get worse until there will only be a handful of people who know the truth.
The commie union teachers are doing the bidding of the communist manifesto for decades and what we are seeing is the result of a house built with a fake foundation. Scum like Moyers are everywhere at PBS and NPR and to make matters worse we are forced to pay for it and do nothing about it.
Tommy and Sally aside, it really is a lousy column, and Bill Moyers isn't the right person to write it, Moyers and LBJ having perhaps greater flaws or at least less excuse for them than Jefferson.
It's strange that Bill Moyers, who may want to be taken seriously, is writing for a website called smirkingchimp.com, and even stranger that there still is a smirkingchimp.com, long after that title lost relevance.
I guess the smirkingchimp team didn't want to spring for a new URL.
Agreed, and this is what keeps me a conservative, while at the same time puts me on the outs with some right-wing firebrands. I get the liberal ideas behind such things as the civil rights movement. It was very much needed. The problem with liberals though is that corrections go on in perpetuity. From where I sit, blacks have achieved equality, Martin Luther King's dream has come true. It's time to end the corrections, and it's been time for quite a while now.
The problem with liberals is they joyfully focus on the darker episodes in our history, browbeating Americans for political purposes.
Americans need to remember what a remarkable country this is when looked at in the context of human history, and how justifiably proud they should be of their past.
I watched the 'Revolutionary War' series on the Military Channel over the holiday. The narrative was replete with sly messages and subtle hints about hidden motives and questions concerning Americans' moral character. Always with a grain of truth perhaps, but always there whether relevant or not.
I used to allow such propaganda to color my impression of the past as well. Then I dug a little deeper. And the deeper a person digs into our history, the more obvious what a good people we are. Imperfect, but remarkable.
If asswholes had their own country, Moyers and Maher would be co-presidents.
Remember that next time your spouse cheats on you.
What I’ve read is that the children born to Sally Hemings could have been fathered by anyone of several Jefferson men. It merely suits America hating, race card playing liberals to put forth Thomas Jefferson as the father, so that they can draw a moral equivalency between an esteemed Founding Father and the immoral behavior of Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, et al. The question that black liberals never answer is, “if you are so horrified at America’s history of slavery and Jim Crow, why are you here?” We know the answer to that one.
This is deliberate and calculated. Take away a peoples history and pride. What have you got? A compliant people.
OK....I BELIEVE it.....WHY, you ask?? Because he was the FIRST DEMOCRAT PRESIDENT!!! THERE.....
Moyers is a pig.
Moyers lives off the government teat. Always has. He’s a frickin’ hypocrite that once “outed” gays for LBJ.
He’s a monster and PBS and NPR should be cut off from federal funds.
Oh, but the GOP are to cowardly to even do that because a Dem can go “boo” by saying “Republicans hate Sesame Street” when anyone with a brain could just point out to the Henson Productions massive profits as reason they should pay for the program themselves.
Talk about crony capitalism. Oh, I forgot. The GOP-e are pussies.
And Bush and his elite threw Tomlinson under the bus.
The fact that l paid worthless propagandist Moyer’s
salary w/ my taxes makes me ill.
Not only was Sally Hemings his wife’s half sister, she was raised in the Jefferson household to help tend their children. She accompanied his youngest daughter on the voyage to France when Jefferson was there on State business. Relationships between people, long dead, are much more complicated then the judgement of those living.
I wouldn’t doubt she remind him of his wife and home and if she had not been a slave, he would have married her. People back then tended to marry within the common families more often then outside them. One look at the Jefferson and the Wayles family tree shows this.
That was beautifully written and I completely agree.
We don’t need “fixing”. Those that look to other nations for examples on how to fix us ... they will fix us until we’re broke and broken.
We have a black president.
I don’t say this because I’m fixed on his race. I don’t say this because I think it’s a problem... I say this so that when one of these liberals tell me how much better it is in liberal countries like France or the UK... I can say:
“When did THEY elect a minority as leader of the nation ... or the free world?”
Madison Hemings was living in Ohio in 1870. The census taker wrote on the census form "This man is the son of Thomas Jefferson." Obviously Madison had told him that--it wasn't supposed to be noted but obviously the census taker couldn't resist writing it down. I've seen the census record on microfilm.
Been married for 56 years and still waiting for that to happen the first time. So is she.
Thanks, Road Glide. Much appreciated.
Landslide Lyndon punked Moyers so hard (like he did the rest of his staff, barely treating people as human) that Moyers to this day still thinks he's part of Lint'n's manhood.
He'll go on being Lint'n's p**** until the day he dies. He deserves to be buried face-down under an Interstate.
Well, Kenneth Tomlinson certainly gave all the PBS/CPB ("Communist Party Broadcasting"?) fair warning in 2003; so no further notice is really needed before severing CPB and throwing it out for sale on the courthouse steps, the second day of the next GOP president's term of office.
The unending string of panegyrics to dead and not-so-dead Communists makes me want to vomit. The show POV has been flogging a bunch of Communist propaganda about Guatemala lately, prominently featuring the Nobel Prize fraud-liaress Rigoberta Menchu, whose fabrications have been publicly documented; but like the emetic Doris Kerns Goodwin, likewise caught abusing the public (plagiarism in Goodwin's case), she simply refuses to go away.
It's actually a Left-wing memetic attack on the language of the Declaration of Independence and the limited-government, anti-Leviathan political tradition that goes back to Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists (who were, by the way, the fathers of the Bill of Rights -- which Alexander Hamilton famously, and somewhat insidiously, denounced).
It stands to reason that totalitarian statists like modern "liberals" and "progs" (so-called: they're all Stalinists, actually) would attack men like Jefferson, who were exponents of the American liberty tradition.
Their lead dog, by the way, has been an Australian journalist with an absolute bloody-eyed thing about Jefferson.
WTF? Bill Moyers and his son take upwards of $2 million per year from NPR. For that kind of money, they might want to tell us what the asshat's real name is.
Bill started his real "career" as LBJ's butt-and-towel boy. Before that, he was a Bible-Beating-Baptist-Bunko-Artist-Preacher, of the Dunk'em, Dump'em Broke, Texas variety.
What a weasel!
Silliest goddam book I ever had the misfortune to read. A wasted two hours of simplified Cliff Notes swiped from Carl Sandberg, among others. Page after page of twaddle.
It is possible that she and the fraudulent Rigoberta Menchu are the same person?
That would be a hell of a makeup job, but not impossible for their gay friends in Hollywood.
Say, Gracchus, I didn’t mean to insult anyone with that “Bible-Beatin’-Baptist-Bunko-Artist crack .... much. Yeah, this creep started out as a preacher ... and I ain’t kiddin’ when I tell you he rakes in MILLIONS from NPR. Just like Garrison Keillor.