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Sally Hemings, #MeToo: A Long Table Conversation and Installation
Gallery Seventy Four
Rochester, NY
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Sally Hemings, #MeToo: A Long Table Conversation and Installation
Sally Hemings, #MeToo: A Long Table Conversation and Installation is a contemporary artistic interrogation of rape culture in America  inspired by Sally Hemings. The afternoon of art and discourse features a poetic presentation by Jacqueline Moe (excerpt from The Rape of Lucrece by William Shakespeare and valentine for Sally Hemings by Sojourner Ahebee) and a short film screening to set off the conversation at the Long Table. Many of the same attitudes about gender and race that informed Sally Hemings life story in the late 18th and early 19th centuries still exist today and merit further exploration in the #MeToo era.

May 6, 2018  3 to 6 pm
215 Tremont Street, Rochester, New York (Door 3|Floor 3)
Registration, $15. Register at

Rape culture in America did not begin or end with Sally Hemings, but in many ways her peculiar* relationship with Thomas Jefferson exposes how deep its roots are and the complexity of its power dynamics. As well as the hypocritical ways in which some women are simultaneously protected and oppressed, while others have no value other than their servitude to men in a white supremacist patriarchal society, says Rachel DeGuzman, founder/producer of At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice.

I was inspired to present Sally Hemings, #MeToo by the current state of sexual politics, our societys ongoing tolerance of sexual assault against women, and, finally, a recent theatre production in California -titled Thomas and Sally: A Love Story.

Some context:

According to historical accounts, Sally Hemings grandmother Susanna was an African slave who was raped by John Hemings  resulting in the birth of her mother Betsy Hemings. Betsy Hemings was raped by her owner John Wayles  resulting in the birth of Sally Hemings. Sally Hemings was brought to Thomas Jeffersons home as an infant slave when he and his wife Martha Wayles Jefferson, inherited her from her father John Wayles estate. Martha Wayles was Sally Hemings half-sister. Thomas Jefferson raped Sally Hemings the first time in Paris when she was 14 years old (he was 44). She was his property.

About Jacqueline Moe:

Jacqueline Moe is a Rochester, New York based actor, director, dancer, and choreographer who teaches dance at Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts. She also is an artist in residence at MuCCC.

What is a Long Table Conversation?

The Long Table is an experimental open public forum that is a hybrid performance-installation-roundtable designed to facilitate dialogue through the gathering together of people with common interests developed by the artist and academic Lois Weaver.

This is a performance of dinner table conversation where everyone seated at the table is a guest performer. Talk is the only course. There is no moderator just assistance from the host. It is a democracy. After the invited participants have chatted for 30-minutes, other attendees can tap someones shoulder to take a seat at the table. The original participants are welcomed back to the conversation through the same process. There is an end, but no conclusion.

About At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice:

In an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. noted the most segregated hour in America was 11 am on Sunday morning -a day and time in 1960 when most Christians were at worship in church. Unfortunately, US churches arent significantly more integrated today, and in Upstate New York, art/culture sector.

At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersections of Art and Justice, which was founded by Rachel DeGuzman and is produced by her company 21st Century Arts with collaboratives of organizers, began with a singular event, but has evolved into an ongoing initiative. Employing various forms of performance, presentation, organizing, and engagement coupled with entrepreneurial, innovative and experiential approaches this initiative will help to expand the regional anti-racism movement that is rigorously underway in other sectors of our community to the art and culture landscape.

Why is this important? Despite generations of progress and good intentions, a few years ago we, in Greater Rochester, NY, acknowledged that systemic racism persists. The community responded with a multi-faceted approach, which for the most part, doesnt encompass the impact of racism in the art and culture sector. Art/culture continues to be a segregated landscape  with great disparities in representation and resources.
Existing inequities in art and culture threaten the sustainability and vitality of the sector as well as the viability of the community.
Racism impacts the degree to which art and culture is valued by its broadest citizenry
Racism frustrates efforts to expand participation, including the diversification of staffs, boards, audiences and patrons
Racism in the sector limits the art/culture we are exposed to and its standards of excellence (Look to the success of Hamilton as one example of untapped potential)
Racism in art and culture distorts the story of us, which is often interpreted and retold by creatives
Persistent racism in art and culture lessens its (potentially) powerful capacity to bring us together

The images in this post are of Sally Hemings (an artistic image representing what she may have looked like, from descriptions) and actor Jacqueline Moe.

*Peculiar in this instance refers to American chattel slavery, which was often referred to as a peculiar institution


Gallery Seventy Four (View)
215 Tremont Street (Door 3/3rd Floor)
Rochester, NY 14608
United States


Arts > Theatre

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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