Thursday, October 29, 2015

Post Every Day

Zhoen says she's going to post every day in November---a sort of NaBloWriMo instead of NaNowrimo.

I've been blogging almost every day, but I like the idea of committing to it, especially since when I'm deep in editing I don't necessarily feel like it (like today, when my eyes are crossing).
 But I can always come up with a little something that's fun to look at and look back on later.

Today I wrote a sidebar about Jefferson and Sally Hemings.

I think lots of people--maybe even teens--will have heard about their likely sexual relationship.
1998 DNA tests show Hemings's descendants are descended from a male Jefferson---some say it could have been a man other than Thomas, like his brother, but why not go with ... who's that guy who says go with the simplest explanation? I'm too tired to remember or look----oh---no, that's right---Occam's razor.
Why introduce complexities? It's not like Thomas would have been unusual... Or like he always was so consistent in his beliefs and actions. (hardly)

But I wasn't sure kids would know laws around interracial relations in the South, so I added a bit saying it was illegal for races to intermarry, but it was not illegal for white owners to sexually use their black slaves. 
And in a reversal of British law, the children's status was determined by their mother's, not their fathers. That is, if the mother was an enslaved person, so was the child
. . . even if his or her father were the president of the United States.

People. I tell ya.

It's impossible to know if Sally H. had a consensual relationship with TJ. Even if she did, it was hardly a free choice, when she didn't have the choice to even leave. 

Though she could have petitioned France for freedom, when she was there as Jefferson's daughter's maid. But she was only fourteen when she arrived in Paris. 

Here's an interesting project I found rummaging around, from EMU (Eastern Mennonite University):
"Coming to the Table was founded by descendants of both slaveholders and enslaved people in partnership with the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding....

"Coming to the Table is inspired by the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his historic March on Washington speech that one day “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”  

Right, from a family reunion: 
Shay Banks-Young (far right), descended from Jefferson’s and Sally Hemings, one of Jefferson’s slaves, 
and David Works, descended from Jefferson and his wife, Martha

Said Banks-Young: 
“This particular event took us away from the conflict and gave us a different view. It helped us to get quiet and simply talk as people. Another benefit is seeing that there are other families like us and to find out it’s okay for all of us to get together and talk.” 

Said Works: 
“Until you embrace the past, you can’t really go into the future. I didn’t inherit any plantations, but is there a plantation in my own mind? The black side of our family had a completely different upbringing than I did, a completely different point of view on things."

"Is there a plantation in my own mind?" Nice way to put it. 

One for my Humanity Is Not All Bad file.

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