This was important to her.
August 28, 2017 8:09 PM Subscribe
It’s true: Sally Hemings was, by law, Thomas Jefferson’s property. But she was also a human being. Contingency, which historians know is always in operation, plays a crucial role in human affairs, and it did so in the way the law of property shaped Hemings’s story. Enigmatic as she may be, Hemings had a vision of her life and self that she imparted to her family. Her vision should always matter when we write about her. Law was pivotal to Hemings’s understanding of her life. She knew its power.
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