MARQUETTE – Julia Jefferson Westerinen and Shay Banks-Young, two descendents of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, will be speaking at Northern Michigan University.
Genetic testing strongly suggests that Jefferson bore children with Hemings, which has shocked many historians. It did not shock Westerinen and Banks-Young and their families, who have always been confident that their great-great grandfathers, Eston and Madison, were indeed the sons of Jefferson and Hemings. Westerinen is white and Banks-Young is black.
In the presentation, the audience will have the opportunity to hear Westerinen and Banks-Young discuss the many differences and similarities they share. The program is interactive and the audience will be able to engage in the discussion.
Westerinen, a businesswoman, and Banks-Young, a preventive health trainer and poet, have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Sally Jesse Raphael, and BET Tonight with Travis Smiley. They also have been interviewed by Time, People, and U.S. News and World Report. Cosmopolitan named Banks-Young as one of its “Fun, Fearless Females” for her community building efforts.