Well, Young Scholars, we have gotten to one of the more "messy" issues in American history. Thomas Jefferson was an AMAZING American- he founded the University of Virginia, started the Library of Congress (in his will, he left his personal library to the government to start it), and even brought agricultural improvements like peas! That doesn't mean he was perfect. There has been debate going on for centuries (literally!) about his position on slavery. He worked publicly to have the institution of slavery ended, but privately held over 200 slaves, and DNA tests have proven recently that he fathered at least one of the seven children that a slave named Sally Hemmings gave birth to at Jefferson's home, Montecello. I want you to read the following article and ask thes following questions in your reply (all of them).
1) Can a person fight for one thing publicly and then do the oppposite privately? Is that American?
2) Can we really judge Thomas Jefferson? That was over 200 years ago, and he was just as much a part of his society, where slavery was normal (I know it's weird to think it), he never knew the great African American thinkers we do.
Good luck, and good reading!