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Searching for Sally Hemings: A Conversation with Author Annette Gordon-Reed

(Originally broadcast January 8, 2009)  Before winning the MacArthur award, Professor Gordon-Reed sat down for a lengthy interview on Basic Black to discuss her book, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.

Professor and author Annette Gordon-Reed is best known for her 1997 book, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy. In that examination of the 38-year liaison between the third president and his house slave, Gordon-Reed looked at how historians and biographers had disregarded evidence of the affair; DNA tests have since proved that Jefferson indeed fathered children with Hemings.

 

Gordon-Reed discusses her new book, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. Winner of the 2008 National Book Award for nonfiction, her return to the subject offers an exhaustive account of the Hemings family saga.