Year in Review: Legacy of President Jefferson & Slave Sally Hemings

Jan 2, 2019

Shannon LaNier spoke in Kalamazoo in 2018 about being a descendant of President Thomas Jefferson and enslaved woman Sally Hemings.
Credit Courtesy photo | Shannon LaNier

On New Year's Day, WMUK rebroadcast our interview with Shannon LaNier, believed to be a great-grandson of President Thomas Jefferson and enslaved woman Sally Hemings. It first aired on Feb. 19, 2018 on WestSouthwest. 


When Shannon LaNier was a boy, he told his classmates that President Thomas Jefferson was his great-grandfather. His teacher didn't see how that was possible. LaNier looks black. She instructed him to stop lying about his lineage. Today, what he has always known has been authenticated by DNA and other evidence, he says, and he has co-authored a book about it titled "Jefferson's Children: The Story of One American Family." LaNier spoke with WMUK's Earlene McMichael in advance of his keynote address in Kalamazoo.