Archaeologists made an astonishing discovery at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello mansion, as they unearthed the former living quarters of Sally Hemings.
“This discovery gives us a sense of how enslaved people were living,” Gardiner Hallock, the director of the restoration at Jefferson’s mountaintop plantation, said. “Some of Sally’s children may have been born in this room. “It’s important because it shows Sally as a human being — a mother, daughter and sister — and brings out the relationships in her life.”
According to The Atlanta Black Star, Hemings’ living quarters, a 14-by-13-foot room located adjacent to Jefferson’s bedroom, had gone unnoticed for decades. In 1941, the space was turned into a men’s bathroom, adding to the long list of insults to the enslaved woman’s legacy.
That’s when archaeologists started digging.
“For the first time at Monticello, we have a physical space dedicated to Sally Hemings and her life,” Dammann said. “It’s significant because it connects the entire African-American arch at Monticello.”
— Sunlight Foundation (@SunFoundation) July 3, 2017
After several decades, Hemings’ room will finally be restored and eventually put on display for the public to see, NBCBLK reported. Curators also are working to incorporate Hemings into Jefferson’s comprehensive life story, which would dispel old newspaper accounts dubbing the enslaved womann as the third president’s “concubine.”
Mistress???? Sally Hemmings was his slave and she could not consent to his sexual abuse! Gtfoh with this revisionist history BS. https://t.co/0d03LNelFe
— Divinity Matovu (@divinitymatovu) July 3, 2017
“As an African-American descendant, I have mixed feelings,” Gayle Jessup White, Monticello’s Community Engagement Officer and a descendant of the Hemings and Jefferson families, said. “I’m appreciative of the work that my colleagues are doing at Monticello because this is an American story, an important story. But for too long, our history has been ignored. Some people still don’t want to admit that the Civil War was fought over slavery. We need to face history head on and face the blemish of slavery and that’s what we’re doing at Monticello,” she concluded.