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Modern and Postmodern Narratives of Race, Gender, and Identity

The Descendants of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings

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Yoriko Ishida

The alleged affair between Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, and his slave Sally Hemings was proven as a fact by DNA analysis in 1998. While many historians continue to deny the affair, some have accepted the love affair between Jefferson and Hemings as fact, and many historical omissions regarding the affair have been revised since the 1998 DNA results. However, the identity and the dignity of the Hemings family, which were previously ignored in the official history, have been restored not only by science but also by literature. This book examines how African American writers have depicted the issues of race, gender, and identity for Sally Hemings and her descendants in modern and postmodern novels.

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