Anthony Johnson, M.S.


Education: Bachelor of Arts in history (December 2003)

Master of Science in counseling and human services from Syracuse University

McNair Project: Are "All Men Created Equal?:" Thomas Jefferson on Race and Freedom in Early America (2002)

Mentor: Louise Breen, Ph.D.

The purpose of this research is to explore Thomas Jefferson's attitudes toward race, slavery, and African Americans throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. My paper will draw upon the works of other historians as well my own interpretation of Jefferson's primary documents. I will expose Jefferson as a racist, hypocrite, and an exploiter of African American women, and accept the possibility that he had sexual relations and fathered children with his slave Sally Hemings.

Historians are still debating this man's life today, expanding our understanding of his significance by exploring not just his political career but also his personal activities and views. Now historians can reevaluate and study Jefferson's "other side," dealing with slavery, race, and his relationship with Sally Hemings. "Sugar coating" the bad aspects of history does not help us to learn from our mistakes so as to improve the future. Jefferson always believed that slavery was wrong, but did not know what to do about it. As he aged, he believed that the next generation should do something about it. It is a shame that here it is the twenty-first century and Jefferson descendants still will not allow Hemings or slave descendants of Monticello to be buried on the plantation. Those Jefferson scholars who deny all that seems unpleasant about Thomas Jefferson will not do anything to better his character; it will only make matters worse.