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Bayou Bend / Rienzi Book Club: Jefferson's Daughters
This unique book club is inspired by history. Throughout the year, the two MFAH house museums—Bayou Bend and Rienzi—present free discussions about books on life in America and Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. This discussion is expected to last approximately one hour, and will be led by Bayou Bend's Head of Education, Jennifer Hammond.

The book: Jefferson's Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America, By Catherine Kerrison

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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. 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. 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, history scholar Catherine Kerrison has uncovered never-before-published documents written by the Jefferson sisters, as well as letters written by members of the Jefferson and Hemings families. The richly interwoven stories of these strong women and their fight to shape their own destinies shed new light on issues of race and gender that are still relevant today—and on the legacy of one of our most controversial Founding Fathers."

Jan 12, 2022 01:30 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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