FROM THE PUBLISHER:
In an electrifying debut guaranteed to inspire, Tina Andrews weaves a
passionate autobiographical/behind-the-scenes account of one of the most
controversial, highest-rated miniseries in recent television history. It also
chronicles her personal and political odyssey as she sought to dramatize the
hotly debated relationship between Thomas Jefferson, third president of the
United States, and author of the Declaration of Independence, and Sally Hemings,
his slave paramour.
On October 31, 1998, the world watched in awe as DNA evidence established a
link in the highly refuted rumor about a liaison between Jefferson and Hemings,
and that Jefferson had fathered at least one of Sally's children during his
38-year relationship with her. But did he love her?
Fourteen months later, on January 27, 2000, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Foundation, keepers of the legacy of Thomas Jefferson, announced that indeed
there was a "long standing relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas
Jefferson" and that Jefferson may have indeed fathered at least one and probably
all six of her children. The announcement came two weeks before the airing of a
miniseries on the subject.
The announcement was no surprise to Andrews, the screenwriter and
co-executive producer of that miniseries. In 1983, she learned of the Jefferson
and Hemings story and set about to research the story, interview descendants and
script the truth. A year later she had written a play and a screenplay. Author
and mentor Alex Haley encouraged her in her efforts because a "wider audience
needs to know this story."
Over the next 15 years the project endured 12 rejections, 4 option sales, 3
title changes and the criticism that Andrews had "sullied the image of the great
American icon." Still, Andrews persevered. Thanks to genetic science, justice
finally prevailed in October 1998, when the potential DNA link was established
between a descendant of Eston Hemings, Sally's youngest son, and Thomas
Jefferson. By the Thursday following the revelation, Andrews (and Executive
Producer Craig Anderson) had a four-hour commitment for a CBS miniseries.
But Andrews' worries were far from over. Power struggles, creative
differences, cost overruns, script changes and overzealous Jefferson
sympathizers plagued the production. The ad campaign heralding "The Greatest
Love Story Never Told" would outrage African Americans and whites alike. They
picketed in Philadelphia. Yet 20 million Americans watched and asked "Was it a
love story?" So here is the definitive answer--the facts, the fiction, the
truths and the triumphs of one of the most explosive miniseries-from an
insider's view and the only one who could tell it--the writer herself.