A restoration project at Monticello will place more emphasis on the lives of enslaved people who worked there, including Sally Hemings who is believed to have children fathered by Thomas Jefferson.
The multi-million dollar Mountaintop Project aims to restore Monticello to the condition that Jefferson once knew it, and to “tell the stories of the people—enslaved and free—who lived and worked on the 5,000-acre plantation,” according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
Part of the renovation includes what historians believe was Heming’s bedroom, the Washington Post reports.
The bedroom, which was turned into a bathroom in 1941, was just steps from Jefferson’s room. According to the Post, the bedroom was turned into a bathroom in part to gloss over the controversial relationship Jefferson had with Heming.
According to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Heming may have been the daughter of Thomas Jefferson’s father-in-law, John Wayles. She likely served as Jefferson’s daughter’s nursemaid and later as a maid at Monticello.
A slave named Isaac Granger Jefferson described Hemings as “mighty near white … very handsome, long straight hair down her back,” according to the foundation.
In the years after Jefferson’s wife died, Heming gave birth to six children, who historians believe were fathered by Thomas Jefferson.
The room is currently under renovation and will open to the public early next year, the Post reports.
SOURCE: Mary Bowerman
USA TODAY Network