The Fairy Princess has a lot on her plate – she is co-emceeing the Pan Asian Repertory Golden Unicorn Gala Dinner on November 9th in NYC, which honors Arts Advocate, Andrea Louie, Actor Ron Nakahara, and Playwright, Edward Sakamoto to kick off it’s 41st Season!


Her car was totaled and she got hosed by State Farm….because 81 year olds with portable oxygen tanks who make left turns because the light turned green should totally be driving…


She attended a lecture at the Natural History Museum in Manhattan and came face to face with the work of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez (@MrEdgardoNYC) and his totally brilliant graphic novel portraying a female Super Hero of Puerto Rican descent – La Boriqueña, which she totally ordered and you should TOO…


Here is the link.


And now…because it is TFP, and because no one can have nice things EVER – we have to delve into why a man, a playwright, would write the story of a 14 year old’s rape – not just once, but for her entire lifetime, by one of our Founding Fathers, and think that is ok.

Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson – their story is one that the Jefferson Family has repeatedly tried to erase – they took out her room in the house and made it a bathroom,


they did not allow their children to share DNA tests that would prove that yes, they descended from America’s Founding Father, who somehow took the death bed promise he made to his first wife as carte blanche to rape the girl that was raised with his daughter, when they went to Paris.

Oh yeah, it’s awful.


Now, TFP, in light of #metoo (which yes, was a movement founded by a Black Woman over 10 years ago, not a child TV star) and in light of being, oh, just RESOLUTELY AGAINST SEXUALLY ABUSING CHILDREN is not down for this story.


What Thomas Jefferson did was rape a child.

As Daveed Diggs once said – and TFP is paraphrasing – one can acknowledge that someone is a great statesman and advocate for his country, and ALSO acknowledge that he was off raping children in Paris, which is reprehensible.

Now, Playwright, Thomas Bradshaw has written a play – THOMAS AND SALLY – which is being put on by the Marin Theatre Company, which is in Mill Valley, CA, which is in the surrounding area of San Francisco.

San Francisco, you say? Home of the uber liberals? Home of the West Coast LGBTQ Rights movement? Where Harvey Milk was to rise and ultimately be murdered for his demands that all peoples be included in equality?


This is outside of San Francisco though, and y’all know what that means…(apologies to Teen Vogue)


Mill Valley is not particularly diverse, and that is likely why they thought it was a good idea to produce this play –

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perhaps they thought it was slightly naughty, or that it is truly a love story.


Guess what?

Adults and children do not have ‘love stories’.


Now, this play is offensive on many levels – and before everyone goes off half-cocked, TFP wants to state, she does not deny a good controversial re-examining of this relationship in a play.

Sally Hemmings was a real person, with real feelings, and her role in history has long been denied and covered up – alleged but not explored.


So a re-examined Sally Hemmings vs. Thomas Jefferson, TFP is down for it – as long as it explores the parameters of what ACTUALLY happened to her, and her feelings towards it as a life long sexual slave ‘in service’ to Thomas Jefferson.

Here are things we know about Sally Hemmings –

  1. She was a mixed raced African American, born in 1773. – 3/4 white, 1/4 African
  2. She was the daughter of John Wayles and Betty Hemmings. Betty was a slave of mixed race, and John, oh HE was the FATHER to Thomas Jefferson’s wife, Martha Wayles Skelton. (TFP cannot with this, too gross)
  3. She came to Monticello as part of Thomas Jefferson’s wife’s inheritance. Her half sister, Martha Wayles Skelton, owned Sally Hemmings.
  4. At age 14, Sally went with the Jefferson’s youngest daughter, Polly, to Paris where Jefferson was serving as Minister for France. It is believed that their sexual relationship began in Paris.
  5. Sally Hemmings gave birth to 6 children, 4 of whom made it to adulthood.
  6. Thomas Jefferson NEVER freed Sally Hemmings. His daughter allowed her to go and live with her freed children upon Jefferson’s death. Sally Hemmings had 9 years before her death, to live with her children as free.

Now, this story gets pretty icky and complicated because Sally, and her brother James who was there in France as a chef with Jefferson, could have petitioned in France for their freedom. Slavery was abolished in France in 1789, and they would have been free.

That Sally did not petition for freedom was not due to ‘romance’, as apparently is put forth in this play – but because she was pregnant at 16 with Thomas Jefferson’s child.


A child who ultimately did not make it to adulthood – however Sally at 16 did not know that was going to happen when she agreed to return to the United States as a slave . She agreed to return on the condition (As per her son, Madison’s memoir) that all her children be freed when they reached 21.

Jefferson did free his children at 21, and he did have them trained as Artisans, so that they could make their living. Read that sentence again, he freed his children. Not “Sally’s Children Only that Miraculously Came from No Deed of his Own”, he freed his children, who he had fathered because over the years, he continued to rape their mother.

People allege that Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson is a love story. That is the premise of Thomas Bradshaw, and no one at MTC challenged him on his interpretation.


Was Elizabeth Smart and Brian David Mitchell, a love story?

Was Jaycee Lee Dugard and Phillip Garrido, a love story?


Neither was Sally Hemmings.

TFP believes that people have chosen to make this narrative into a love story because the perpetrator was a White Founding Father and because Sally Hemmings was a mixed race slave.


It is still rape. It was not ‘love’, it was rape.

She was a child.

This is not a romantic fling of different aged lovers, this is a white man Thomas Jefferson, using a mixed race girl, Sally Hemmings, for sexual relief without thought of her feelings, her physical needs, or judgement from society because at the time – most of the men in America sexually abused their slaves in some fashion – be it physical or sexual or both.

The reason Sally was sent to France with Jefferson’s daughter, is because the slave that was supposed to go with her, was pregnant – and…this is First Lady Abigail Adams‘s impression of Sally when she stayed with them briefly, before the two continued on to France –

“The Girl who is with (Polly) is quite a child, and Captain Ramsey is of the opinion, will be of so little service that he had better carry her back with him. But of this you will be a judge. She seems fond of the child and appears good naturd.”

And in a later letter:

“The Girl she has with her, wants more care than the child, and is wholy incapable of looking properly after her, without some superiour to direct her.”

There you go – Sally Hemmings was, from her actual age, and from the way she acted – a child. We have an eyewitness account from a future First Lady of the United States to tell us, in her own words, the view she had of Sally Hemmings when she arrived overseas.

She was not a mature lady playing a child, as it is in this play  –  she was an actual child.

Elizabeth Smart was 14 when she was taken and raped for 9 months by a fanatic who called her his bride. Jaycee Duggard was 11.

If you happen to have a 14 year old in your life, please go and think how you would feel if a man who was 44 years old, decided that she was going to have a sexual relationship with him. TFP assumes you would do everything in your power to remove this 14 year old from the orbit of this man, who was stalking her.

Sally Hemmings did not have you there. Sally Hemmings had no legal right to assert herself, to go to the authorities, to report this man because…he owned her. He owned her and he had the ‘right’ to do with her person as he wished.

Perhaps, after the initial shock of being raped at 14, and years together as his sexual outlet, perhaps she did submit to Stockholm Syndrome and come to think she cared for him, but if that had been her final take on it, she would have been much older.

That was never a decision that a child could ‘willingly’ make. It was never a decision that slave could make – because slaves were not allowed to make decisions – and Sally Hemmings was always owned by Thomas Jefferson.

She was never freed. Not officially.

This is story that is American, and it is disturbing. An actual examination of the story would be welcome – not just for historical accuracy, but because the sufferings of Black Women have been muted by our lack of reporting on them.

Thomas Bradshaw, could have done a real service here, choosing to really reflect what happened to Sally Hemmings.


Examine the myth, examine the monster.

The Marin County Theater could have done a real service for women of history that are known from history because of things that they were not allowed to decide upon – rape, incest, forced marriages, beatings, honor killings, murder, forced relationships – all things that women of all kinds know to be part of their universal story of being women.

Black Women have suffered crimes that all women have suffered and more, and they should have been consulted and imput taken from them. Taking Sally Hemmings’ story from her and romanticizing it – justify the treatment she received.

Thomas Jefferson has not been brought to justice.

He raped a child as she left childhood and then he raped a woman – in front of his family, and in front of the family they made together. He never freed her.

His Daughter let her leave. His daughter, who had born witness to this slavery, who watched her Mother’s half sister have to suffer this man, this great Statesman, and know who and what he was doing – she was the only one who refused to let it continue.

Honestly we do not know if it was because of embarrassment or compassion – but  she allowed Sally Hemmings to live out her last years with her children. She was not officially freed by anyone, but this daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph, “gave her ‘her time’.’ (Which was a way of unofficially freeing her).

That is the story of Sally Hemmings.

Now, MTC (which never should have produced a story like this without the knowledge and experience of Black Women Artists local and available to them in the Bay Area, but they DID) held a facilitated meeting with local Activists on October 24th.

It did not go well. Not surprising as MTC reacted to a peaceful protest by REGINA’S DOOR, (a group that was comprised of survivors of sexual trafficking and local artists )-  by calling the Police on them.

They called the police on survivors of sexual trafficking.


Wrap your head around that. That is a pretty spectacular way to make sure you do not hear the reasons that this play and it’s viewpoint – that Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings was a love story – were filled with troublesome issues.

Furthermore, even MTC acknowledge that the subject was ‘icky’ in it’s own way – putting a photo of a mature actress playing the role on the poster, as opposed to an image of a 14 year old girl. Which is based on historical fact.

There is a petition going around, and TFP is asking you to sign it – please go and read what they have written BELIEVE THEM – and sign the petition.

TFP lends support where it is needed, and standing up for Sally Hemmings is but one area in this world – in our collective theatrical world – where it IS needed.

Women of the Theater, this should trouble you ALL – regardless of how you ‘identify’, we, as women, should all come out against rape, against sexual slavery. Against re-writing a narrative where a man almost three times the age of a 14 year old is romanticized and put forth as a great man.

Harvey Weinstein produced great movies. Harvey Weinstein raped and sexually attacked women.

Thomas Jefferson was a great statesman who pioneered democracy as we know it. Thomas Jefferson also raped a 14 year old and kept her in his household until his death.

Not that different a story. Powerful men being given access and time to pursue the most low of practices.

History is also Herstory.

Her name was Sally Hemmings, and she deserved better.


TFP out.