I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
Here Trout points out that Black says that Jefferson went to France to marry Hemings.
The second link is to the screen cap of Black's claim. The statement that he couldn't marry her so he went to France to do so indicates that he fled the racism of the US to marry his one true love. Um, wrong.
I didn't want to get into this, but the fact that it's already hurt so many authors, authors who aren't buying into this bullshit romance story between Jefferson and Hemings is pissing me off. Black? Is wrong. Flat out wrong.
Here's my response to Trout's blog:
"Black is wrong. Jefferson didn’t go to France to marry Hemings. In fact, she wasn’t even one of the original slaves that he brought along.
“Around the time that he returned to Paris, Jefferson was reunited with his ten- year old daughter Polly, who had been brought to Europe via London in the care of a teenage slave named Sally Hemings. ”
Hemings wasn’t brought because Jefferson loved her so much, or felt romantic towards her. In fact, he fell hard for someone else during one of his times in France.
“Whether consummated or not, it is clear that while in Paris Jefferson developed a romantic attachment to Maria Cosway, a young English painter raised in Italy, and fully possessed of the characteristic Mediterranean charms. ”
She was married – unhappily, but committed to her marriage. Jefferson is described as broken hearted over her. And even then? He doesn’t bring Hemings over to console him.
When the slaves finally learned they could petition for freedom in France, they did. Hell, the only reason he didn’t lose Sally seems to be this:
“After some hard convincing, Jefferson was able to avert the loss of two of his finest slaves, and the Hemings siblings returned to Monticello with him. Many have speculated that this was accomplished by means of a bargain involving the eventual emancipation of various members of the Hemings family.”
She apparently loved him so much that, to all appearances, the only reason she chose to stay a slave with him is that he /used her family/ as bargaining chips. Ah, well, if that isn’t love on his part, I don’t know what is. /sarcasm.
All quotes from the SparkNotes site, by the way: Link to SparkNotes as source.
But the contention that he went to France /to/ marry her is flat out wrong. He didn’t go to France because, yay, he could marry Hemings. He went there because job. And the France time? Seems like Hemings wanted her freedom and to stay there without him. I guess that sorta disproves the tru wuv theory, too. She wanted to be free; he found a way to emotionally blackmail her into staying with him, as a slave.
But, yeah, I can see how some people could misconstrue this as a romance story. *shakes head*"
And also, the contention by others that the author is black so this can't be racist? Wrong. And a lot of PoC were offended by this, probably because, y'know, racism. There's a lot of internal isms: sexism, racism, etc, etc.
And I still can't type PoC without thinking Pirates of the Caribbean. (True story: I knew of the term people of color before I first saw the abbreviation. But I suck at guessing what new to me abbreviations are, so I was like what do pirates/movies have to do with these issues until I googled and went, oh, that makes sense.)
PS - I am going to tack all of Jenny's books onto this post. She called out a lot of bullshit, and I want to support her, not the book she's talking about, or anyone who sides with those who believe this book was in any way okay. I'm also eyeing Such Sweet Sorrow.