A Dual Legacy

Thomas Jefferson: Liberty and Slavery

Jefferson penned immortal words about equality for Americans while denying the humanity of those enslaved on her soil. Explore Jefferson's dual legacy through the online Paradox of Liberty Exhibit.

Legacies of Activism

Sarah Mayrant Fossett

A century before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Alabama, Sarah M. Fossett successfully integrated the Cincinnati streetcar system. Watch to learn more.

James Monroe Trotter

Trotter’s passionate commitment to equality inspired his famous son, William Monroe Trotter.

William Monroe Trotter

Trailblazer. Newspaper publisher. Civil rights titan. Meet William Monroe Trotter, one of the most influential descendants of Monticello’s enslaved community—and someone who too many people have never heard of.

Coraline Franklin Cooke

"Disfranchisement because of sex...handicaps progress." Learn more about this descendant of the Hemings family who became an American suffragette. 

Frederick Madison Roberts

Descended from Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson, Roberts was the first Black member of the California State Assembly, a school administrator, and journalist.

Myra Anderson

Myra Anderson, a member of the Hern family, carries on the tradition of civil rights activism by descendants of Monticello's enslaved community.

Indigenous Peoples in Colonial and Modern Eras

Monacan Indian Nation in Virginia

Monacan Indians called the western portion of central Virginia, where Monticello is now located, home before English colonists gradually displaced them. Visit this page of the Monacan Indian Nation to learn more about their history and community as it survives today.

Jefferson and American Indians

Jefferson's long public career during a formative time period for America allowed him to shape the relations between the United States and the scores of Indian nations in the 18th and 19th Centuries and beyond.

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Learn about how different groups struggled and triumphed in the ongoing quest for equality