Sixth-Great Grandson Of Thomas Jefferson And Sally Hemings Has A Message For ALL Americans

Written by K. Walker on July 6, 2020

The TV host dressed as his ancestor for a photo series that he says holds “a mirror to America.”

Thomas Jefferson had several children with his slave Sally Hemings and one of their descendants has posed for a photoshoot dressed as his famous ancestor.

Houston television host, Shannon LaNier, shared photos by British photographer Drew Gardner for a Smithsonian Magazine article titled “American Descendants.”

LaNier, who is a TV host in Houston, shared the images of him dressed in similar attire as Jefferson on Instagram.

‘The @smithsonianmagazine is helping hold a mirror to #America & reflect how #President #ThomasJefferson not only took part in creating this country but also it’s people… black, white, brown, yellow & red!’ LaNier wrote.

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‘My ancestor had his dreams—and now it’s up to all of us living in America today to make sure no one is excluded from the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’

Source: Daily Mail

Shannon LaNier and photojournalist Jane Feldman co-authored the book Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family which includes descendants from both Martha Jefferson and Sally Hemings. It has untied them as one family.

…Shannon LaNier chose not to wear a wig while posing as his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. “I didn’t want to become Jefferson,” says LaNier, who has gone to reunions at Monticello and co-authored the book Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family. “My ancestor had his dreams—and now it’s up to all of us living in America today to make sure no one is excluded from the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

LaNier said of Jefferson, “He was a brilliant man who preached equality, but he didn’t practice it. He owned people. And now I’m here because of it.”

LaNier has posted just a handful of related videos to Instagram, but each one has the same message–equality. This is the same message that the Founders believed in, even if they didn’t enact it themselves in their day.

Here is a video that he participated in for Ancestry.com in 2017 with the caption, “#July4th looks much different NOW than it did in 1776. It also didn’t include many of the people in the remake of this painting! About 41 of the 56 #DeclarationOfIndependence signers owned slaves, so now the descendants of the signers look like this…
Anyone know how?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Now let’s fight to make #ThomasJefferson‘s words a reality… #AllMenAreCreatedEqual
#ShannonLanier

This is a hope-filled message that we’re all interconnected. We can’t always look backward, we have to look forward to create the world that the Founders had only dreamed about where all men were treated as equal. Fighting racism with racism isn’t the answer. Coming together as Americans is the only thing that will end the interminable racial divisiveness.

ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, former Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll