Word comes from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that one of the recipients of this year's so-called "genius grants" -- a $500,000, no-strings-attached fellowship -- is historian Annette Gordon-Reed, whose Pulitzer Prizing-winning book, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, also earned the National Book Award in 2008. Gordon-Reed is also author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, published in 1998.
Days before she received the Pulitzer Prize for history, I captured Gordon-Reed on video as she delivered remarks at the grand opening ceremony of the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center at Monticello. In this video clip, she is introduced by Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
The ceremony took place on April 15, 2009, two days after Thomas Jefferson's birthday and, perhaps coincidentally, the same date as the first boisterous exercise in democracy known as the Tea Party at the Charlottesville Pavilion.