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Physical and sexual abuses were part of their slave lives, and family relationships were always unstable because slave trades frequently broke up families. The American colonies practiced this slavery throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, until the American Civil War and leaders like Abraham Lincoln put an end to it. However, even after the abolishment of slavery system, the legacy of slavery influenced the American history, in the disruptive years of Reconstruction. When slavery existed in United States of American, it was considered to be a cruel part of history. However, for Sally Hemings, it was a completely different story. She gave up freedom for many uncertain reasons. The different facets of Hemings as concubine, mother, slave, and the privileges she had for being a slave is analyzed in detail.
“Being a woman added burdens to a slaves life but also furthered the ‘cooperation and interdependence’ necessary for a womans survival”.1 This statement aptly fits the life of Sally Hemings. She was a enslaved woman of mixed-race who was owned by then President, Thomas Jefferson. She was said to have had a long-term relationship with Jefferson, consequently bearing as many as six children with him. She was born in 1773 to Elizabeth (Betty) Hemings and John Wayles, Thomas Jefferson’s father-in-law. She entered Monticello as part of inheritance that was given to his Jefferson’s wife Martha Wayles Jefferson. Initially, she was a nursemaid to Jefferson’s daughters doing household chores and other works that an enslaved woman would do. Later, in 1784, when Jefferson travelled to Paris, Hemings accompanied him with his 8-year old daughter named Martha. It is said that it was during this time that the relationship between Jefferson and Hemings could have developed.
There are many instances to show that Sally Hemings gave up her
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Jefferson’s view on Americanization was that of people having rights, freedom and liberty to exercise those rights and, of course, white skin. Jefferson sees Americans as being citizens of the state in every possible way from character, laws and freedom.
By dint of his innate talent, dedication and commitment, the former US President not only played dominant role in winning freedom for his fatherland USA in 1776, but also raised a strong voice against violation of human rights being exercised by the majority population against the minority races (Nye & Morpurgo 1955).
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President Thomas Jefferson the icon for many is presented here as a human being, who fathered children by one of his slaves Sally Hemings. American Sphinx won National Book Award in 1997. The history of the formative years of the
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