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The dots indicate the residences, at the time of their interviews, of nearly 180 people who participated in the Getting Word project. This map is not representative of the entire community of living descendants of Monticello’s African American community. If you wish to learn more about descendants in a particular place, you can enter a location in the Search box. Also, you can click on Meet People and check the box to the left of the relevant family name.

Interviews for the Getting Word project took place between 1993 and 2012, at Monticello and all over the country. In 1993 the project director and project historian began to trace the whereabouts of Monticello’s enslaved descendants, with the help of consultant Beverly Gray, a historian who had been studying the African American experience in southern Ohio for many years. The first event of the project was a reception that she organized in Chillicothe in 1993. Forty descendants of the Fossett and Hemings families attended.

Over the years more individuals came forward to share their stories. Staff traveled to Ohio many times and to Alabama twice; they visited the cities of Boston, Cincinnati, Columbus, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Oakland, Seattle, and Washington, DC, where they recorded interviews, explored cemeteries, examined family photographs and documents, and were enriched by shared memories. Research in newspapers, private papers, and public records supplemented the interviews.


Los Angeles, CA Area

9 Madison Hemings descendants; 1 Fossett descendant; 1 Woodson descendant

Charlottesville, VA Area

5 Coleman-Henderson descendants; 4 Hern descendants; 3 Colbert descendants; 2 Hughes descendants; 2 participants with unclear ancestry

Chillicothe, OH

2 Fossett descendants; 5 Madison Hemings descendants; 3 participants associated with Fossett and Madison Hemings descendants


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