African American Read In
Descendant of President Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings reveals secrets in virtual Black History Month Event. Author Gayle Jessup White discusse book with TV journalist Cheryl Wills
Author Gayle Jessup White discusses her new book RECLAMATION: Sally Hemmings, Thomas Jefferson and a Descendant's Search for her Family's Lasting Legacy with veteran TV journalist Cheryl Wills.
Conversation kicks off Black History Month as part of the National African American Read-In on Sunday, February 6, 2022, at 1 pm
A growing number of African Americans are piecing together their family trees and the African American descendants of President Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings have led the way. Despite opposition from multiple sources, the legacy of Sally Hemmings was once a taboo topic but no more. A Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings’ family explores America’s racial reckoning through the prism of her ancestors—both the enslaver and the enslaved.
Gayle Jessup White had long heard the stories passed down from her father’s family, that they were direct descendants of Thomas Jefferson—lore she firmly believed, though others did not. For four decades the acclaimed journalist and genealogy enthusiast researched her connection to Thomas Jefferson, to confirm its truth once and for all.
After she was named a Jefferson Studies Fellow, Jessup White discovered her family lore was correct. Poring through photos and documents and pursuing DNA evidence, she learned that not only was she a descendant of Jefferson on his father’s side; she was also the great-great-great-granddaughter of Peter Hemings, Sally Hemings’s brother.
In Reclamation she chronicles her remarkable journey to definitively understand her heritage and reclaim it and offers a compelling portrait of what it means to be a black woman in America, to pursue the American dream, to reconcile the legacy of racism, and to ensure the nation lives up to the ideals advocated by her legendary ancestor.
The event is sponsored by the Greater Queens (NY) Chapter of The Links and York College located in Queens, New York.
This conversation between two journalists is free and to the public. Guests are asked to register for this event