We need a new national mythology, one that makes room for all of us. Everyone needs to be able to see themselves in America’s origin story. We need to all be able to take pride in where we came from and how we got here.
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Madison get to form our origin story. In truth, the people who enabled them to have the time, wealth and energy to pursue such things were the ones who did all the hard work and only received punishment and pain in return.
After visiting Monticello at the age of 8, I became a confirmed Thomas Jefferson fangirl. Then, I started to learn about the guy.
My feelings for Jefferson? They became complicated.
And then, they got downright ugly.
Evidence from the Jewish cemetery of Oudekerk and in the local Sephardic records show people of African descent were part of the Portuguese Jewish community. Some were slaves, others as servants and some were free. All were Jews. But none were given the dignity they deserved.