Sally Hemings

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Sally Hemings as a Love Story
In the book Sally Hemings by Barbara Chase-Riboud many people often categorize its' contents into two subjects one being a love story and the other as a biography of Thomas Jefferson. To me this book outlines the romantic story between Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings. It shows us not only the love story of their relationship but the romantic epic of how Thomas Jefferson as a widower copes with the death of his wife, Martha. Its' pages unravel to us a deeper side of Jefferson, a side only seen by the eyes of Sally Hemings. It introduces us to conversations that may have taken place between the two that leads us to believe this is a love story.

Thomas Jefferson was a widower with a daughter—five other children having died young—when he met Sally Hemings. She was in her mid teens, when they became lovers. They had several children together who were of course put into slavery. The author allows us to see that Hemings graced Jefferson's table as lady of the house. She stayed so true and so devoted to her master-now found lover that even when she had the opportunity to escape her slavery (on a trip to Paris) she refused to do so. She remained at Monticello until her own death, she refused to leave a place where she had found herself happiest. This alone can prove to us that this is more than just history it is a true love story. Jefferson shows his love for her in many ways. He even goes to the extent to contradict himself and change his point of views on slavery, all in the name of love. On page 157 the author describes to us that when Jefferson came home from Paris his views on slavery changed. The book shows that they may have changed because in Paris he fell in love with Sally. The love story continues to evolve when on page 178 Sally is having a conversation and she speaks about his love for her. "A white man don't keep no black concubine for six years without loving her. He loved your sister and he lost her, and...
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