Reclamation: How a Monticello Descendant Uncovered and Restored Her Family’s Heritage
Join Gayle Jessup White, author of Reclamation: Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, and a Descendant’s Search for Her Family’s Lasting Legacy, as she discusses her 50-year journey to confirm her family’s oral history that they are descended from the country’s third president.
Growing up in Black middle-class Washington, DC, Jessup White was 13 when she first heard the family lore. Fueled by personal loss and professional angst, she devoted herself to uncovering the truth, a commitment that ultimately led her to Monticello, where she became the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s first community engagement officer. Reclamation is an intimate exploration race, class, and redemption in a country that continues to struggle with its complicated and painful origins.
Gayle Jessup White is Public Relations & Community Engagement Officer at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the non-profit organization that owns and operates Monticello. She is the first descendant of Jefferson and the families he enslaved to be employed by the Foundation. She is the author of Reclamation: Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, and a Descendant’s Search for Her Family’s Lasting Legacy.
The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.
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