Synopses & Reviews
Conceived during Thomas Jefferson's junket in Paris, Thomas Woodson was Jefferson's first child by Sally Hemings. He was banished from Monticello at the age of 12, after a journalist exposed Jefferson's relationship with his young slave. A President in the Family
traces Thomas Woodson's subsequent journey from Virginia to Ohio where Thomas and wife Jemima, a former slave, would raise a productive and ambitious family.
Their eldest son Lewis, author of the famous Augustine letters, would carry on the family tradition of education, leadership, and public service. A founder of Wilberforce University and described by some as the father of black nationalism, Lewis argued that the black race should not depend on white philanthropy to achieve success in America. His children and grandchildren would prosper as entrepreneurs, engineers, and educators.
A President in the Family tells of the Woodsons' continuing struggle to correct accounts by Jeffersonian historians and their successful discovery of documentation that supports an oral history that survived independently in five branches of the family tree. Byron W. Woodson, Sr., a sixth-generation descendant of Jefferson, details the recent developments in the quest to corroborate family lore, to locate missing family members, and to reveal the truth about the complex day-to-day life at Monticello. This is the amazing story of the Woodson family and its steadfast effort to reveal its illustrious past to the American public.
A President in the Family is really three stories. It is, first, the most complete account we have to date of the children of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. It is the fascinating story of a remarkable African-American clan of institution-builders, the Woodsons. And it is the saga of a family's passionate quest to recover their hidden heritage. This is a book about links and connections, a story to make all Americans proud.Robert P. Forbes, Associate Director Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, &Abolition Yale University
A valuable new addition to the growing body of research on the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Woodson retells the story of our nation's third President, filling the gaps of history with extensive research and his own family's story. This intimate examination teaches an important lesson about America through the complex prism of race.Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.
A fascinating story that deserves our attention on its own terms.William and Mary Quarterly
Woodson makes his case effectively, and Jefferson buffs will relish this latest installment in the Jefferson-Hemings saga.Publishers Weekly
Of considerable interest to students of African-American history and biography.Kirkus Reviews
A very interesting read. Byron Woodson's book is a magnificent, sensitive, and scholarly book documenting the clandestine affair between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, his slave and his wife's half sister. Before Sally Hemings' destiny found its proper place in history, her restless spirit roamed everywhere and belonged nowhere for over two hundred years. Her life has been vindicated by one of her descendants. The book is a significant contribution to American history.Charles L. Blockson, Curator Charles L. Blockson Afro American Collection Temple University
Conceived during Thomas Jefferson's junket in Paris, Thomas Woodson was Jefferson's first child by Sally Hemings. He was banished from Monticello at the age of 12, after a journalist exposed Jefferson's relationship with his young slave. A President in the Family traces Thomas Woodson's subsequent journey from Virginia to Ohio and documents the Woodson family's present-day efforts to uncover documentation in support of an oral history that has survived independently in five branches of the family tree. Thomas, the oldest of the five surviving children born to Sally Hemings and Jefferson, would carry on the family tradition of education, leadership, and public service. This is the amazing story of the Woodson family and its continuing pursuit to reveal its illustrious past to the American public.
Chronicles the life and legacy of Thomas Woodson, Jefferson's first child by Sally Hemings.
About the Author
BYRON W. WOODSON SR. is a son of Minnie S. Woodson, who researched the Woodson genealogy and wrote the Woodson Source Book. He is a sixth generation descendant of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson and a great-great-grandson of the Reverend Lewis Woodson, the father of black nationalism. Byron Woodson gave a blood sample for the Hemings/Jefferson DNA test in 1997 and with his wife, Trena, has extended research to Thomas Jefferson's papers, uncovering new findings. Woodson is a graduate of Lincoln University (Pa.) and Temple University where he earned a MBA.
Table of Contents
The Fate of Sally Hemings
James T. Callender, With the Hammer of Truth
Tom is Banished
The Rights of All
The Color Line
Harvesting Strands of the Past
The Third Heart: The Brilliance of Dr. Fawn Brodie
Minnie S. Woodson Strikes Genealogical Gold
Search for Truth?
Stop and Look Both Ways
Calling All Cousins