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Jefferson's Daughters: Three Sisters,…
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Jefferson's Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young… (vuoden 2018 painos)

– tekijä: Catherine Kerrison (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1978109,566 (3.81)5
"Thomas Jefferson had three daughters: Martha and Maria by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, and Harriet by his slave Sally Hemings. In Jefferson's Daughters, Catherine Kerrison, a scholar of early American and women's history, recounts the remarkable journey of these three women--and how their struggle to define themselves reflects both the possibilities and the limitations that resulted from the American Revolution. Although the three women shared a father, the similarities end there. Martha and Maria received a fine convent school education while they lived with their father during his diplomatic posting in Paris--a hothouse of intellectual ferment whose celebrated salonnières are vividly brought to life in Kerrison's narrative. Once they returned home, however, the sisters found their options limited by the laws and customs of early America. Harriet Hemings followed a different path. She escaped slavery--apparently with the assistance of Jefferson himself. Leaving Monticello behind, she boarded a coach and set off for a decidedly uncertain future. For this groundbreaking triple biography, Kerrison has uncovered never-before-published documents written by the Jefferson sisters when they were in their teens, as well as letters written by members of the Jefferson and Hemings families. She has interviewed Hemings family descendants (and, with their cooperation, initiated DNA testing) and searched for descendants of Harriet Hemings. The eventful lives of Thomas Jefferson's daughters provide a unique vantage point from which to examine the complicated patrimony of the American Revolution itself. The richly interwoven story of these three strong women and their fight to shape their own destinies sheds new light on the ongoing movement toward human rights in America--and on the personal and political legacy of one of our most controversial Founding Fathers." -- Publisher's description.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:Dgryan1
Teoksen nimi:Jefferson's Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America
Kirjailijat:Catherine Kerrison (Tekijä)
Info:Ballantine Books (2018), Edition: First Edition, 448 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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Jefferson's Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America (tekijä: Catherine Kerrison)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 8) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I can not reccommend this book. In fact I'm somewhat shocked this was even printed in 2018. The information included is dated, inaccurate, and slavery apologist in tone.

This biography while extremely approachable is heavily and not respectfully edited in respect to chattel slavery. This biography includes 2 white women who exploited enslaved peoples and one enslaved person. The enslaved person is presented as a labor exempt 'worker'. If an author is too fragile to acknowledge that enslaved peoples were never 'workers' it doesn't bode well for the text. The white women are never once clearly identified as slave owners.

I know very little about the everyday life, personal thoughts, expectations, customs and manners of southern white chattel-slave owning women during this time period so that's interesting. The clothing, education and socialization expectations are all new and a fascinating addition to what I know about British and French women of comparable class and social standing. The featured exchanges between Martha and her contemporaries at her French Boarding School over their lifetimes is enlightening.

Ms Kerrison mentions Annette Gordon-Reed's groundbreaking research into The Hemings Family with great respect but seems to use the facts provided therein minimally and to flat effect. Gone is the verbose richness and detail of setting which highlight the recounting of the histories of Martha and Maria Jefferson and their families/contemporaries. There seems to be a bare bones, almost outline approach with facts connected but barely fleshed out with appropriate period detail. Not many facts are known about any of these women and their lives but a much richer narrative is created for Martha and Maria.

Also as this is published in 2018 by a Professor of History and Women & Gender Studies, I expected the current verbiage of 'enslaved peoples', which is now considered moderately standard in academia. Those expectations were in vain. Worse yet Kerrison actually adds the title 'slave' to various enslaved peoples and never once the title 'slave owner' in referencing the multiple slave owning white people in this book. Example: 'Slave Isaac Jefferson...' Whereas Thomas Jefferson is never once referred to as 'Slave Owner Thomas Jefferson...'

While this treatment of enslaved peoples is not uncommon in historians who heavily study white 'slave owners', it's still blatantly biased and a racist treatment of enslaved peoples. There exist centuries of historical precedent to ignore, dismiss and downplay the evils of chattel slavery in biographies of slave exploiting white people. This text includes no mention of the methods white women used to exploit enslaved labor nor typical punishments enacted by white women towards enslaved people, especially those in the house. The author tries to insulate Martha and Maria from any hint of the exploitation that made up their normal daily lives. They exploited enslaved peoples who they also held in captivity for their labor, this is never even indirectly addressed. It's bizarre. If I'm reading about this period in the UK about women of comparable class the roles of servants would be prominent as well as the names of personal attendants.

This lack results in the inclusion of inaccurate information about the lives and skills of Martha and Maria. For example it's highly doubtful Martha or Maria had more than a theoretical knowledge of cooking and household management as we understand these chores today. Household/exploited (slave) labor management would largely have been handled first by Betty Hemings and then likely by Sally. White wives and daughters on plantations like these planned menus and read aloud recipes to enslaved women, who already knew the recipes by heart.

White women who had that much exploited labor at their disposal across multiple plantations didn't 'do' much of anything. That is, after all, the main purpose of stealing, oppressing and exploiting whole families of people-a desire to NOT labor yourself. These women didn't labor beyond child birth. They didn't suffer want or privation no matter how strained their circumstances. The system of forced labor that was chattel slavery existed expressly so white women of this class could have no real expectations of labor either mental or physical.

These women weren't even responsible for their own kids. They didn't breastfeed, change diapers, stay up at night with unsleeping babies/toddlers/kids and would only have been minimally involved even in the care of sick children. Enslaved women would have provided the vast majority of the care and discipline for Martha's large brood of kids. None of this is mentioned or detailed.

The narratives of enslaved peoples in the US feature white women directly oppressing enslaved peoples, especially women working in the house. White women were often instigators of slave punishments, the sale of individuals away from their families and the sale of enslaved children fathered by white men. These white women had an active, not passive nor spectator role during this time period. This well documented history is completely missing from this narrative with the exception of single story in which a daughter of Martha personally whips an enslaved women.

These facts are left out because the author wishes to distance Martha and Maria Jefferson from their harmful and exploitative behaviors. These women lived and breathed exploitation and oppression. Biographers must effectively place their subjects in their appropriate historical place and time. Ms Kerrison has published multiple non-fiction histories/texts on the lives, expectations, customs, education and hobbies of southern slave owning white women during this time period. Clearly she is aware of the role these women played in slavery, that she would choose to edit that from a biography about white female slave owners is concerning. This unfortunately calls into question the validity of all of the information provided in this text, as it clearly is heavily edited to reflect the author's own bias, prejudices and racism. ( )
  LoisSusan | Dec 10, 2020 |
Author Catherine Kerrison does an excellent job of showing attitudes towards gender and race at the time Thomas Jefferson‘s daughters were living. His two white daughters received excellent educations for females at that time, and were considered privileged. Another daughter Harriet, by his slave Sally Hemings, escaped Virginia -- probably with Jefferson's help. She passed for white, probably living and raising a family in Washington DC, & we don‘t know her fate.

All three daughters had such potential but were restricted by attitudes towards race and gender, especially Harriet. Maybe Harriet's descendants will be revealed someday.

I recommend this book. It‘s non-fiction but I was initially fooled by its cover design, which makes it look like historic fiction. I picked it up only because it was on the DAR library book club list for 2020. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Apr 8, 2020 |
A very revealing and well-researched account of the lives of Thomas Jefferson's descendants. I found it eye-opening about the realities of white privilege and "color of skin" then and now. Focusing on Jefferson's three daughters, Martha, Maria and Harriet, the book shows the importance of racial purity...then and now! The richest chapter was at the end...Legacy. His daughter Harriet, chose to leave her family and her identity to live a life of "passing" for herself and her children. She is invisible to us as Jefferson's daughter. As recently as 2002 the Montecello Association denied the rights of burial in the Montecello graveyard to Heming descendants of Jefferson. Shame on us. ( )
  SignoraEdie | Mar 14, 2019 |
‪I loved this book on so many different levels. Its the first hx book that I will deem a favorite. I loved the author’s writing style, her perspective (neither romanticizing or demonizing the events), her putting bits of her own feelings into the story and on and on. This is not just a story about the Jeffersons and Hemings or about slavery vs. freedom. It causes us to take a deep, serious look at human nature, who we really are as people ( )
  joyfulmimi | Sep 30, 2018 |
An interesting detailed look at both Jefferson’s white daughters and black daughters. Now only was the contrast in their relationships with Jefferson but how he viewed women and their place in society. What really impressed me was how much work it was for the author to find information especially about Harriet. ( )
  brangwinn | Jun 12, 2018 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 8) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
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For James P. Whittenburg who encouraged my study of the past and for Everett, Luke, and Madeleine - my hope for a more just future.
Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
It was a deceptively quiet Sunday in Paris.
A favorite tale, retold countless times at the Jefferson family hearth, was the story of Martha Wayles Jefferson's arrival at Monticello as a new bride.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"Thomas Jefferson had three daughters: Martha and Maria by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, and Harriet by his slave Sally Hemings. In Jefferson's Daughters, Catherine Kerrison, a scholar of early American and women's history, recounts the remarkable journey of these three women--and how their struggle to define themselves reflects both the possibilities and the limitations that resulted from the American Revolution. Although the three women shared a father, the similarities end there. Martha and Maria received a fine convent school education while they lived with their father during his diplomatic posting in Paris--a hothouse of intellectual ferment whose celebrated salonnières are vividly brought to life in Kerrison's narrative. Once they returned home, however, the sisters found their options limited by the laws and customs of early America. Harriet Hemings followed a different path. She escaped slavery--apparently with the assistance of Jefferson himself. Leaving Monticello behind, she boarded a coach and set off for a decidedly uncertain future. For this groundbreaking triple biography, Kerrison has uncovered never-before-published documents written by the Jefferson sisters when they were in their teens, as well as letters written by members of the Jefferson and Hemings families. She has interviewed Hemings family descendants (and, with their cooperation, initiated DNA testing) and searched for descendants of Harriet Hemings. The eventful lives of Thomas Jefferson's daughters provide a unique vantage point from which to examine the complicated patrimony of the American Revolution itself. The richly interwoven story of these three strong women and their fight to shape their own destinies sheds new light on the ongoing movement toward human rights in America--and on the personal and political legacy of one of our most controversial Founding Fathers." -- Publisher's description.

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