The Associated Press writers say flatly that the tests indicated that Hemings' children were fathered by a Jefferson male, 'most likely Thomas'. This is just false.
About the DNA tests, which involved Hemings' descendants and Jefferson/Carr descendants, David N. Mayer says:
Although they implicate a Jefferson, not a Carr, as Eston Hemings' father, the DNA results cannot exclude the Carrs as possible fathers of Sally Hemings' earlier children. Neither can they show, in and of themselves, that Thomas Jefferson was any more likely to have been Eston's father than any of Thomas's male-line relatives..''
For anyone interested in the facts about this controversy, or anyone simply interested in American history, I recommend reading the Mayer piece. It's an extensive and thorough rebuttal.
And here is a page with links to the Scholars Commission Reports, which can be downloaded.
I'm always dumbfounded by the frequency with which the Jefferson slander is brought up in various discussions, with the majority of people, even 'conservative' people, seeming to have bought into the truth of this rumor. I have so often heard careless remarks along the lines of 'Thomas Jefferson screwed his slaves', and this from an ostensibly patriotic American, not some Michael Moore-type leftist.
Personally I try to rebut this rumor every time it's brought up, in internet discussions or in real life. I have a personal stake in setting things straight; I'm a Jefferson descendant, although a collateral descendant, not a direct descendant. Now if there was convincing evidence of Jefferson's guilt, I would accept that. I would think less of him, though. An acquaintance asked me why the rumor bothers me, implying that my reaction betrayed 'racism' on my part. Now, as I've said, I think it's futile to try to take a defensive posture when the race card is played. My answer to this acquaintance was that the point was, if the rumor was true, Jefferson was a fraud and a deceiver, as well as a sexual profligate, because his public persona was that of an upright, straight-laced man. He was never known, unlike Benjamin Franklin, as having a bawdy side, or as being a womanizer. He was known as a shy, introverted man, despite his public career, and in his writings, he promoted a modest, chaste life. He was not, as is known, a conventionally religious man, and I never make that claim for him, but I believe he followed conventional Christian morality in his life. There is no real evidence otherwise.
The racial aspect of this is secondary; I would be troubled by the rumor regardless of the race of the woman involved, because it's a slander on his character. To believe that he was one person in public and the opposite in private would destroy his credibility and integrity.
Still, many modern people seem to like to believe that the people of past eras were all hypocrites, who preached sexual restraint in public but were debauchees behind closed doors. It seems that many people who find conventional morality too constraining justify their own peccadilloes by saying that 'everybody does it' and has always done it. Which brings me to another aspect of this tawdry story: the fact is, that this whole Jefferson-Hemings story was given 'legs' by the minions of Bill Clinton who publicized the Jefferson slander in an effort to make Clinton's misbehavior seem normal. Sadly, much of America seems to have bought Clinton's rationalization, and accept it as true.
And of course the acolytes of Political Correctness and the race industry gleefully seized on the Jefferson slander as a way of showing how those Founding Fathers were not only elitist white guys, but sexist, racist, hypocrites. In spreading this story, they were able to slay several birds with one stone. They could cast aspersions on one of the giants of American history, and they could preachify about 'racism' and 'exploitation', slavery and sexual hypocrisy -- and defend the likes of Bill Clinton all at the same time. What a bargain for them.
All of their favorite causes rolled into one.
Unfortunately, America lost in this sorry episode; it seems the good name of one of our Founding Fathers is forever tarnished. This myth has passed into 'common wisdom'. It has the allure of a tabloid-type rumor. In our sex-obsessed age, people seem to love these stories with a lurid, salacious twist. Some people seem to get a charge from the 'kinky' aspect of this story; probably the same people who enjoy tales like 'Mandingo' with 'forbidden' sex. And then there are the addlebrained people , who have told me they think the story is 'romantic'.
Of course, as mentioned in the articles I linked above, the larger question of the politicizing of American history and the role of Political Correctness come into play with this story. Our history and our heroes are under attack, and if we concede all the battles to the revisionists there is little hope that we can preserve our heritage.
As for myself, I'll keep on challenging this particular myth whenever it reappears, as it is certain to. All of the Founders belong to us; they represent our heritage and our history. We don't have to have blood ties to the Founders to stand up for them.