Op-Eds, Editorials & Articles

Charlottesville Cancels Jefferson's Birthday

The City of Charlottesville has long celebrated the birthday of Thomas Jefferson on April 13 with a paid holiday for city employees. This recognition to Charlottesville's most famous citizen and founder of the University of Virginia located in the city became the victim of an unrealistic understanding of Jefferson's connection to slavery. Robert Turner, chair of the Jefferson-Hemings Scholars Commission, and editor of the book The Jefferson–Hemings Controversy: Report of the Scholars Commission, corrects the record. Read more…

Left Commonly Cites Disputed Allegation to Tarnish a Founding Father

As left-wing activists target statutes of Confederate soldiers, Supreme Court justices, and even Christopher Columbus, some on the extreme Left have set their sights on Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States.

But one of the most commonly cited allegations about Jefferson, that he fathered six children with a slave that he owned, Sally Hemings, is the subject of ongoing scholarly debate and is far from settled history. Many who’ve studied all of the available evidence believe it’s very unlikely. Read more...

Thomas Jefferson Day, 2006

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

National Geographic Society 2005 

Herbert Barger, Jefferson Family Historian and Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society board member, has recently assisted the National Geographic Society with a vital Genographic Project. Spencer Wells, National Geographic geneticist, needed the Jefferson DNA for his project and Mr. Barger, who assisted Dr. Eugene Foster with the 1998 Jefferson-Hemings DNA Study, agreed to assist and provided Jefferson information for this important study. It is from Mr. Barger's data banks that Jefferson family genealogy and history is maintained.

The results were revealed to the public in the National Geographic film production, The Search for Adam, shown nationally on June 26, 2005. A Jefferson DNA donor is shown providing a mouth swab for the match. Using other similar swabs, Mr. Wells was able to determine that the Jefferson DNA matched to the Phoenicians, an ancient civilization living in what is now Syria and Lebanon. The Phoenicians were known as the Canaanites in the Bible.

Keeping Up With The Jeffersons 2002

Editorial, The Washington Times

Is there a willful determination by some to sully the memory of one of America 's founding fathers as a debauched adulterer who some claimed "visited" one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, on a regular basis and fathered at least one child by her?

Fact Trumps Fiction on Jefferson Story

By Robert F. Turner, The Boston Globe

The allegation that Thomas Jefferson fathered children by Sally Hemings was first published in 1802 in fulfillment of a blackmail threat by one of the most disreputable scandalmongers of the era, James Callender, who hated people of color and expected that the rumor would cost Jefferson his reelection. 

The Truth About Jefferson

By Robert F. Turner, The Wall Street Journal

Were allegations about Thomas Jefferson's purported relationship with Sally Hemings just another bit of Clintonian--Monica Lewinsky spin?

Francis L. Berkeley Interview

This summary was prepared by Frank Buell, son-in-law of Herbert Barger, Jefferson Family Historian. It is based on an audio taped interview of Mr. Francis L. Berkeley conducted by Mr. Barger taken on March 29, 2000.

Mr. Berkeley was Curator of Manuscripts at the University of Virginia (UVA) for more than 25 years and was a member of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Board for approximately 29 years.