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John Chuckman



Note in the story a reference to: “the Jefferson School Heritage Center”

The greatest unrepentant slaveholder in American history was Thomas Jefferson. His record was appalling. He held over two hundred slaves until his dying day.

We know he beat slaves at times because a reputable witness wrote the fact down. He did not even manumit his slaves with his death either as some slaveholders did. He died a bankrupt from his spending excesses.

He used slave Sally Hemmings, starting at the grand old age of thirteen, as his sexual partner and had children by her. We know this from the written testimonial of one of her grown sons.

He was known to have sometimes sold uncooperative slaves “downriver,” a practice for disposing of stubborn slaves to the feared Deep South where they were treated far more brutally.

He openly wrote of black inferiority in his “Notes on Virginia.” He also once wrote, being quite aware of what he was doing, that he feared for his county’s future over what had been done with slavery.

When President, he supported France’s Napoleon in trying to brutally suppress the revolt of the plantation slaves of Haiti. He made no pretense about what he thought the right course, dictator over slaves seeking freedom.

All this, of course, while writing his little catchy sentences and phrases on freedom so often still quoted today. He was essentially his own public relations flack for the judgment of history. The man stands as the greatest hypocrite in American history.

And please note, that to this day, Washington still does not have a monument to slavery. There clearly should be one, a very large and compelling one, but there is not. Only some polite teasing around the edges by the Smithsonian.

Yet Jefferson continues to enjoy a marble memorial in Washington, a place on Rushmore, and has thousands of local streets and institutions named for him.

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