A letter to the editor D.C. Examiner regarding the defense of Thomas Jefferson's honor:
Re: Defending the honor of Thomas Jefferson, September 1st.
Barbara Hollingsworth writes, “And while [William Hyland, Jr.’s] book doesn’t change the brutal fact that white plantation owners like [Thomas] Jefferson often took sexual advantage of their female slaves, forcing them to bear unacknowledged offspring, it does remind us that even dead white males deserved to considered innocent until proven guilty.” This is nonsense. Strictly speaking, the presumption of innocence, an ancient tenet of criminal law, has no application in answering the historical question whether Thomas Jefferson fathered any of Sally Heming’s children. If any presumption applies it is this: the slaveholding Jefferson, with absolute dominion and control over Heming, whose status was that of a piece of property available for anything including satisfying the master’s sexual appetite, is presumed to have acted consistently with the slaveholders’ prevailing mores and practices of the day.