New exhibit explores Jefferson’s slave ownership
WASHINGTON (AP) — Thomas Jefferson wrote "all men are created equal" to declare U.S. independence from Britain, yet he was also a lifelong slave owner who freed only nine of his more than 600 slaves during his lifetime.
That contradiction between ideals and reality is at the center of a new exhibit opening Friday as the Smithsonian Institution continues developing a national black history museum. It offers a look at Jefferson's Monticello plantation in Virginia through the lives of six slave families and artifacts unearthed from where they lived.
The exhibit, "Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello: Paradox of Liberty," was developed with Monticello and will be on view at the National Museum of American History through mid-October. It includes a look at the family of Sally Hemings, a slave. Most historians now believe she had an intimate relationship with the third president and that he fathered her children....
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