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FRONTLINE; Jefferson’s Blood


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Jefferson’s Blood
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered January 1983 Since January 1983, FRONTLINE has served as American public television's - PBS - flagship public affairs series. Hailed upon its television broadcast debut as "the last best hope for broadcast documentaries," FRONTLINE's stature over 23 years is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human experience. Series release date: 1/1983

Program Description

For years there existed a rumor that Thomas Jefferson had a long- standing relationship and several children by Sally Hemings, a woman who was his slave. Now, DNA tests all but prove the rumor true. An early hero of the anti-slavery movement, Jefferson wrote brilliantly of the corrupting influence of slavery on blacks and whites alike. Yet it is now apparent that he lived a dual life, sharing his house with his white daughter and grandchildren while his unacknowledged mistress and his children by her worked in the same house as slaves. In a personal essay, FRONTLINE correspondent Shelby Steele examines Jefferson's life and follows the descendent of Jefferson and Hemings as they undergo DNA testing, search out their family history, and try to sort out their place along Americas blurred color line.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Public Affairs
Chicago: “FRONTLINE; Jefferson’s Blood,” 04/28/2000, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 19, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_88588EC79B4642E69D716363125895A5.
MLA: “FRONTLINE; Jefferson’s Blood.” 04/28/2000. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 19, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_88588EC79B4642E69D716363125895A5>.
APA: FRONTLINE; Jefferson’s Blood. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_88588EC79B4642E69D716363125895A5
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