Shannon LaNier, a descendant of founding father Thomas Jefferson in the ninth generation, and his slave Sally Hemings wore the same outfit as his famous ancestor for a Smithsonian Magazine piece, “American Descendants”.
But LaNier, who is black, said in the July issue of the magazine that he chose not to wear a wig because he resembled his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather be.
“I didn’t want to be Jefferson,” said LaNier. “My ancestor had his dreams – and now it is up to all of us to live in America today to ensure that nobody is excluded from the promise of life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.”
LaNier, a television presenter in Houston who co-wrote a book about his family: “Jefferson’s Children: The Story of an American Family,” also said about the third US president: “He was a brilliant man who preached equality, but he did it not.” don’t practice it. He had people. And now that’s why I’m here. “
The Smithsonian article features images of British photographer Drew Gardner, who began tracking down descendants of famous Europeans such as Napoleon and Charles Dickens about 15 years ago to see if they would “pretend to be their famous ancestors in portraits that he newly created created “, says the article.
Then Gardner thought of the United States
“Despite all the difficulties, America is the most brilliant idea,” the photographer is quoted as saying. Gardner “primarily wanted to question the idea that history is ‘white and male’,” the article said.
Other famous Americans who appear alongside their descendants in the play are Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
LaNier posted photos of himself and Jefferson on Instagram, saying the article in the magazine “helps keep a mirror” for America.
The pictures side by side show that Jefferson “was not only involved in the creation of this country, but also in the people … black, white, brown, yellow and red!” LaNier wrote.