"Frontline: Jefferson's Blood" on PBS-TV 

Other Sides to the Story

Immediately following the broadcast of "Jefferson's Blood," PBS-TV will air several short reports on other aspects of the Jefferson-Hemings saga.

"Love or Rape?" will explore whether the all-but-proven physical relationship between Jefferson and Hemings was consensual. If it was, was it a natural extension of love? If it was not, a case could be made for rape. Sally Hemings' mother, Betty, was half white. Betty's children were the result of a physical relationship with her owner, John Wayles, who was Jefferson's wife's father. Sally's children by Jefferson, therefore, were 7/8 white. Jefferson's wife, Martha Wayles, brought Sally, her slave and half-sister, with her when she married Jefferson and moved to Monticello. Some accounts say there was a strong resemblance between Martha and Sally.

"How Tom and Sally Made History" will focus on two historians who are traveling the country to record the oral history of Jefferson's slaves. For years, the majority of historians, including the University of Virginia's Dumas Malone, dismissed the story of a Jefferson-Hemings relationship as Negro folklore. Many of them, including Malone, are no longer alive, and are thus unable to recant their writings on the subject or interpret the recent DNA analysis.

"George and Venus" will explore another revered American's relationship with a slave. Did George Washington have sex with a slave named Venus? Inspired by the Hemings DNA results, the descendants of a Washington slave named West Ford, take their case to Mount Vernon — but they get a colder reception there than Hemings descendants found in


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