As Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia undergoes excavation, several parts of its concealed past are coming to light. In efforts to incorporate the narratives of slaves who lived on Jefferson’s plantation, Monticello has been restoring areas where they worked and lived. According to the Washington Post, amongst the areas that are being restored includes the room of Sally Hemings—a woman who was owned by Jefferson and had a long-term relationship with the former U.S. president.
From the Washington Post:
The room where historians believe Sally Hemings slept was just steps away from Thomas Jefferson’s bedroom. But in 1941, the caretakers of Monticello turned it into a restroom.
The floor tiles and bathroom stalls covered over the story of the enslaved woman, who was owned by Jefferson and had a long-term relationship with him. Their involvement was a scandal during his life and was denied for decades by his descendants. But many historians now believe the third president of the United States was the father of her six children.
Time, and perhaps shame, erased all physical evidence of her presence at Jefferson’s home here, a building so famous that it is depicted on the back of the nickel.
Hemings’ room will be open to the public next year and her story will be shared at Monticello, reports the outlet. “Visitors will come up here and understand that there was no place on this mountaintop that slavery wasn’t,” Christa Dierksheide, a Monticello historian, told the Washington Post. “Thomas Jefferson was surrounded by people, and the vast majority of those people were enslaved.”
According to the Washington Post, the restoration project cost $35 million.
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SOURCE: Washington Post