No family ties

Starita Smith's commentary (``Tell the truth about race, history,'' Opinion, May 26) completely misses the point. The Monticello Association didn't ``blow an opportunity'' by refusing to admit descendants of Sally Hemings into the Jefferson family or graveyard. We were only seeking the truth about the likelihood that a relationship existed between Thomas Jefferson and Hemings. Nearly all of us concluded it did not, based on the vote of 67-6.

As members of the Monticello Association, each of us has inherited a property right of burial in the graveyard at Monticello. Suppose your own family was assembled at the reading of your father's will, and a group showed up claiming to be his ``natural children.'' What kind of proof would you want before you split the assets with them? What if they had no proof whatsoever? What if they're black? Are you racist if you want to see some proof?

Assume all this happens in the context that your father had a reputation as one of the most honorable men in the neighborhood. And one of your father's few enemies in life had told someone that your father had seduced the 14-year-old intellectually challenged daughter of a hired laborer starting when your father was 43. Also assume that the descendants of the allegedly molested child now demand a right to come to all of your family reunions so they can express hatred for the vicious child-molesting rapist.

Those who want to bulldoze a kinship where none was likely to exist are the real liars, frauds and hypocrites.

John H. Works Jr.

Past president, Monticello Association Englewood, Colo.