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Leigh Katherine Fought
Le Moyne College (Syracuse, NY 13214-1301)
A Biography of Sally Hemings (1773-1835): Given Her Time

On-site research at Monticello for a short biography of Sally Hemings, one of Thomas Jefferson’s most historically notable slaves.

This biography will tell the life story of Sally Hemings, the Anglo-African woman claimed by Thomas Jefferson as a slave, who was half-sister to his dead wife, mother to his five youngest children, and a member of an extensive kinship network of African Americans centered on his Monticello plantation. As such, the book will also be an introduction to race, gender, slavery, and freedom in the first fifty years of the American republic. The chapters will follow the chronology of Hemings’s life from her birth in 1773 until her death around 1835, with each focusing on a key question that has perplexed historians who have written about her. The final chapter will look at the ways she has been interpreted at the Monticello historical site and in popular culture.

Project fields:
African American History; U.S. History; Women's History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 5/31/2021