In my opinion, the reason for this sudden foray is to stir up present day antagonism. What do you think.
William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site
I have to say that this makes absolutely no sense to me. It really would be equivalent to riding in the back of the bus. If they decide to let the Hemmings into their society, that's their business. If they decide to keep them out, that's also their business. But you don't start a club for somebody else, that would be patronizing. You either let them into your club, or you tell them to go start their own club.
The DNA evidence did not prove anything new about Thomas Jefferson. It only concluded that a Jefferson was the father of Sally Hemmings last son. Given Jefferson's advanced age and the fact that his nephews were around, I would say that there were more likely candidates.
Monticello's Theories of Relativityand
Jefferson Family Report Urges Against
Taking Hemings Descendants Into Group
For three years, the descendants of slave Sally Hemings have attended family reunions at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello plantation, touring the historic grounds outside Charlottesville alongside Jefferson's acknowledged kin, mingling at often contentious white-linen luncheons and waiting to be recognized as bona fide family.
That seems ever more unlikely now. Continue WashPost
By PETER SAVODNIK
Daily Progress staff writer
Descendants of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings converged on Charlottesville for a two-day meeting Saturday to hash out who belongs to the third presidents extended family and who can be buried in the descendants graveyard at Monticello.
Emotions surrounding the closed-door gathering at the Monticello Event & Conference Center were raw, in some cases pitting brother against brother and black against white.
At issue is a 24-page report being debated by the Monticello Association, which counts among its ranks 700-plus members who trace their lineage to one of Jeffersons two daughters.
The report, formally presented Saturday by the associations Membership Advisory Committee, recommends creating a second organization for descendants of Monticello slaves and workers. The association is expected to vote on the plan today.
The creation of this second, parallel organization, the Families of Jeffersons Monticello, is meant to be an olive branch for descendants of Hemings, the slave with whom Jefferson may or may not have had children.
Although the DNA results alone could not prove that Thomas Jefferson was Eston Hemings father, their addition to other historical evidence reopened the questions of whether Thomas Jefferson was the father of some or all of Sally Hemings children, an association fact sheet states. But members of Families of Jeffersons Monticello would be barred from being buried in the association cemetery, prompting Hemings descendants and some association members to accuse the association of creating a separate but not equal group.
There are 204 Jefferson descendants and their spouses buried at the cemetery at Monticello. James Truscott, the outgoing president of the association, estimated the cemetery could easily double that.
John Works, one of two association members running for president of the group, assailed the politically correct effort to open up the cemetery to Hemings descendants. His brother, David Works, meanwhile, urged everyone association members and the Hemings descendants to listen to each other.
Works, who has said the association should continue studying the possibility of Hemings descendants connection to Jefferson, said he had no idea if the association would adopt the reports recommendations at its meeting this afternoon.
We all have got to get along, Works said. We dont have to be so threatened. Theres nothing to be afraid of. Mary Jefferson, a Hemings descendant and the only one of the 120 attendees at the meeting Saturday whose surname is the third presidents, said the association is conflicted about the report.
Saying she had nothing personally to gain from being let into the association, Jefferson added: Im here for Sally Hemings. I teach kindergarten in Southern California.
Jefferson descendents give no ground to Hemings' heirs
By WARREN FISKE, The Virginian-Pilot
© May 6, 2002
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- The mainline descendants of Thomas Jefferson on Sunday overwhelmingly rejected DNA evidence that many historians say all but proves the third president had a child with his longtime slave Sally Hemings.
Members of the Monticello Association -- a group of lineal descendants of Jefferson and his wife, Martha -- voted 74-6 to deny the Hemings progeny burial rights at the Jefferson family cemetery at Monticello.
The association, during a tense annual meeting attended by several of the Hemings clan and punctuated by charges of racism, also rejected efforts to establish a separate cemetery at Monticello for the Hemingses.
``We have at this point established that the Hemingses have not met criteria sufficiently to be admitted as members,'' said Nathaniel Abeles, the president of the association. ``If evidence to the contrary emerges in the future, we will welcome them with open arms.''
Hemings descendants expected the verdict but reacted with anger and hurt.
``I'm very sorry this happened today,'' said Julia Jefferson Westerinen, a Staten Island artist. ``They've passed up a real chance to further racial reconciliation. I really feel sorry for these people. They're locked in their own cages.''
The events marked a turning point in a heated debate over whether DNA tests cement a long-rumored sexual relationship between the former president and his slave. The tests, conducted in 1998, found identical chromosome markings in male Jefferson descendants and the survivors of one of Hemings' sons.
A number of eminent Jefferson historians say the findings leave little doubt that the president fathered Hemings' children. They note that 200-year-old logs place Jefferson in Monticello nine months before his slave had each of her 12 children.
The 700-member Monticello Association has resisted those conclusions, arguing it is possible that any of eight Jefferson men living near Charlottesville 200 years ago could have impregnated Hemings. They say the most likely suspect is the president's kid brother, Randolph, a widower who was single during most of the years Hemings bore children.
``My personal conviction is that Thomas Jefferson lived so principled a life, that for him to do something like that would be so foreign to his conscience that it is inconceivable,'' said Matthew Mackay Smith, a retired veterinarian and white Jefferson descendant.
Hemings descendants rejected that argument.
``For them to let us in, they'd have to admit that Thomas Jefferson had sex with a black woman, and they can't bring themselves to do that,'' said Shay Banks-Young, a Hemings family member from Ohio.
Leaders of the Monticello Association denied race was a factor in their decision. In the absence of irrefutable proof that the third president sired slave children, they said they must fall back on longstanding bylaws that confer burial at Monticello only to those who can prove direct lineage to Jefferson and his wife through accepted family trees.
About a dozen of Hemings's estimated 2,000 descendants were at Sunday's meeting. They were allowed to attend the debate but could not vote.
Jefferson and Hemings members frequently left the debate to vent frustration with reporters outside. That led to several shouting matches.
``Why do you insist on hanging around here,'' shouted Pamela Buell, a Jefferson descendant, to several Hemings members speaking to the media.
``Because Monticello was built on our backs,'' said Robert Gulden of the Hemings family.
There also was discord within the ranks of the association. It centered on a photo of a wide-eyed black man with his mouth zippered shut that had been e-mailed to Lucian K. Truscott IV, a dissident family member who favors burial rights for the Hemingses.
The picture was sent by David H. Works, a hard-line leader of Monticello Association, in protest of Truscott discussing a confidential report with reporters last month.
Truscott confronted Works with the picture during the meeting, saying it underscored his belief that the decision to exclude the Hemingses was based on race. Works took heated exception and accused his relation of calling him a racist.
Tempers were quelled when other family members took up motions to censure both men and suspend them from the association for a year. Truscott and Works shook hands and apologized.
``Was it poor judgment? Yes.'' Works said. ``Was it appropriate? No . . . I shouldn't have sent it, but it was not meant to be racist.''
Abeles, the association president, played down the incident.
``This shows just how emotional this whole debate has become,'' Abeles said.
Meanwhile, Hemings descendants were undecided whether to attend future association meetings.
``We're going to have to discuss this as a family,'' Young said. ``Most of us don't want to be buried in the cemetery. It's the recognition of our heritage that we're after. We're gaining that every day in history books. We're winning even when we lose.''