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For generations, historians and the American public alike ignored the stories of Jefferson’s descendants, if they were even asked for. Today, we are having more honest conversations about racism, politics, power, and slavery.

Getting Word, an oral history archive for descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s enslaved community, has served to identify descendants of families owned by Jefferson and carefully record their oral histories.

White and Davenport’s illustrated presentation will deepen our understanding of U.S. history, and will serve as a model for all those curious and courageous enough to examine their own personal histories.

Andrew M. Davenport

Andrew M. Davenport is a writer, editor, and teacher and will begin a doctoral program in U.S. History at Georgetown this fall. Davenport researched Getting Word while a Robert H. Smith Fellow at the International Center for Jefferson Studies in July 2017, and recently served as an adjunct professor of African American Art History at Fairfield University.

Article by Davenport →
Gayle Jessup White

Gayle Jessup White became Monticello’s first community engagement officer in 2016. She is not only a direct Jefferson descendant, but is related to two well-documented families enslaved at Monticello - the Hemingses and the Hubbards. A former award-winning TV reporter, Jessup White started her career at the New York Times. She has written and spoken extensively about her work at Monticello and about her family’s ties to Jefferson, his extended family and the enslaved community.

Article on Jessup White →
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