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Julia Jefferson Westerinen

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Julia Jefferson Westerinen

Julia Jefferson Westerinen

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Julia Jefferson Westerinen and Family

Julia Jefferson Westerinen and Family

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Julia Westerinen and her daughter Dorothy at Monticello

Julia Westerinen and her daughter Dorothy at Monticello

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Julia Westerinen's father, William Magill Jefferson
Image courtesy of Julia Westerinen

Julia Westerinen's father, William Magill Jefferson
Image courtesy of Julia Westerinen

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Carl Smith Jefferson (1876-1941), grandfather of Julia Westerinen.  A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and its law school, he became chief attorney for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad (courtesy of Julia Westerinen)

Carl Smith Jefferson (1876-1941), grandfather of Julia Westerinen.  A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and its law school, he became chief attorney for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad (courtesy of Julia Westerinen)

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Julia Westerinen and Shay Banks-Young in a “Conversation in Black and White”

Julia Westerinen and Shay Banks-Young in a “Conversation in Black and White”

Dates alive: 
1934–
Residence (at time of interview): 
Staten Island, NY

Artist, businesswoman, and mother of four, Julia Westerinen did not learn of her connection to Monticello and her African American ancestry until the 1970s. After genetic testing in 1998 established a link between her family line and Jefferson's, she went on the Oprah Winfrey show and met Shay Banks-Young, a descendant of Madison Hemings, brother of her ancestor Eston Hemings Jefferson.

Since then, they have been speaking to audiences around the country about their family history and issues of race in America.  In her joint interview with Banks-Young, Westerinen notes that since learning of her African American heritage, "I don't see color anymore like I used to."

Interview Information: 

6 Dec. 1997, Staten Island, NY
Interviewees: Julia Jefferson Westerinen, Emil Westerinen, Arthur Westerinen, Susan Smart, Eleanor Magid
Also present: Emily Westerinen

19 July 2000, Charlottesville, VA
Interviewees: Shay Banks-Young, Julia Jefferson Westerinen

Excerpts: 
Ancestry: 
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