Du Bois Education Series features authors of ‘Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family’

By Barbara Dean Tuesday, Oct 24 Life In the Berkshires


Jane Feldman and Shannon LaNier, co-authors of 'Jefferson's Children: The Story of One American Family,' will be the speakers tonight (October 24) at the W.E.B. Du Bois Educational Series lecture at Monument Mountain Regional High School at 7 p.m.

Great Barrington — Shannon LaNier and Jane Feldman, co-authors of “Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family” are to be the latest speakers in the W. E. B. Du Bois Educational Series at Monument Mountain Regional High School, 600 Stockbridge Rd., Great Barrington. This event will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 24th, from 7 – 9 p.m., in the cafeteria, and is free and open to the public.

Shannon LaNier is a sixth great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemmings. Jane Feldman is a photojournalist, author and activist. She is passionate about bringing untold history into communities like the Berkshires, and beyond. Shannon LaNier is an Emmy Award winning television host, media personality and author. Together, Feldman and LaNier wrote “Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family.”

The book follows LaNier’s journey to Monticello and beyond to uncover the history behind his heritage as a 9th generation descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, as well as to contact both the black and white descendants of Jefferson. It began for LaNier in the second grade, when he told his teacher and his class that he was descended from Jefferson, and his teacher dismissed and disbelieved his story, and told him never to lie again!

This book, and the discussion that it encourages, serve as a catalyst for discussion on family, race, and our interconnectedness as Americans and human beings: segregation, discrimination, white privilege, women’s rights, the legacy of slavery, and so much more. This family’s journey has been one that symbolically explores self-identity, conflict resolution, and a true desire to come to the table and make sense of its complex legacy.

The W. E. B. Du Bois Educational Series looks at social and economic justice through a series of lectures, presentations, theater and musical events and concerts. It celebrates the extraordinary contributions of Du Bois, the civil rights leader, educator, author and sociologist, who was born and raised in Great Barrington, and graduated from Great Barrington High School and Harvard University. In the spirit of Du Bois, these programs are designed to heighten awareness of racism, modern slavery, gender and economic inequality, and other injustices, but also seeks to find solutions and healing.

And here is the link to the Jefferson’s Children website, with bios, book reviews and much more: