Saturday, March 26, 2016
I've been reading a book over spring break, one I picked out, just for me, just because I want to. It's a historical fiction built around lives of Sally Hemings and her children. Sally Hemings was a slave owned by Thomas Jefferson, the rumored father of her children.
The book follows the lives of three boys, Beverly Hemings, Maddy Hemings, and Peter Fossett, another slave boy at Monticello. Beverly, Sally's oldest son, is 7/8 white, but his mother is a slave, so by law he is a slave. He is light enough that, at age 21, when Master Jefferson sets him free, he plans to pass into white society. Maddy, Sally's middle son, is also 7/8 white and a slave, but is not light enough to pass, so must live as a freed black slave when he turns 21. Peter, another slave of the Jefferson property, has no hope of ever being free.
The book is a well-written, thought-provoking read into contrasts of the lives of three boys from the same place. The story follows them through their lives from the time Beverly is 7 until the death of Thomas Jefferson 21 years later.
The end of a particularly good story always leaves me feeling just a bit sad, but the end of this book absolutely divestated me. When I started the story, I did not anticipate the ending. By the time time I got to the final few chapters I knew what to expect, but kept hoping for a different outcome all the same.
I highly recommend this book, "Jefferson's Sons". If you've got some spare time, it's well worth the read!