Jefferson's Children
The Story of One American Family

JEFFERSON’S CHILDREN: The Story of One American Family (Random House, 2nd edition) by co-authors Lanier and Feldman, is used in course curricula in many junior high schools, high schools, and colleges around the country. It has become a powerful catalyst for discussion on issues of Race and Family. Prestigious Columbia University and Rutgers University use the book in courses on Race and the Law. Historical essays are contributed by Annette Gordon-Reed, recent recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize, and the MacArthur Genius award. Other contributors include award winning journalist, and family member, Lucian K. Truscott IV.

"…a wonderful book" —Ken Burns
"… a fascinating story" —Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“…An extraordinary extended family!” —Publishers Weekly


For a full press kit, contact Jane Feldman

Today Show with NBC's Harry Smith: Descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves spend the night at Monticell

WAMC Northeast Public Radio: Jefferson’s Children at Mount Holyoke College

CBS Sunday Morning: Jefferson’s Irony: Voice of liberty, slave owner

Education & Dialogue

“Jefferson’s Children [is] not only a compulsively readable book but also an invaluable catalyst for discussion. Adults and children who read it will find themselves thinking about race, history and family in a new way.”
—Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Together, coauthors LaNier and Feldman have expanded upon their book to create an interactive presentation that serves as a catalyst for discussion on Race, Heritage, History, Sociology, Science, Conflict Resolution, and more. LaNier, a member of the nation’s most well known and provocative inter-racial family tree, interwove his observations with narratives of black, white and multi-racial family members, historians, scientists presenting varied points of view. Beautifully photographed and coauthored by Jane Feldman, known for her photographic work with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and Amnesty International, Jefferson’s Children, both the book as well as presentation, is a compelling exploration of race and culture in America. Lanier and Feldman give an inside view of the family bonds, heartfelt connections, and unexpected discoveries while creating the book, and throughout the decade that followed—shattering cultural stereotypes and illustrating the cultural richness and inspiring strengths inherent in America’s racial identity, Jefferson’s Children marks the first time that the intimate stories of the Jefferson’s and Hemings’s families have been told in-depth and in their own words.

“Jane Feldman’s photos are as fascinating as the text…”  —New York Times Book Review
  • “This is a wonderful book that helps to humanize our sometimes opaque third president. When the fuss subsides, all of us will realize how fortunate we are to share this complicated legacy.”
    — Ken Burns
  • “…An extraordinary extended family!”
    — Publishers Weekly
  • “…It is a fascinating story and the authors are remarkably courageous and magnanimous. The world is a slightly better place for it.”
    — Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • “…The more one reads the heartfelt, at times searing, oral histories and looks at the portraits of black people who look white and white people who have black ancestors, the more artificial and meaningless the construct of race becomes.”
    — Chicago Tribune
  • “… A visual and verbal dialogue worthy of the complex feelings engendered when issues of race and racial diversity within families arise, especially when they have been hidden in family history.”
    — Black Issues Book Review



Award-winning photojournalist Jane Feldman is a former New York fashion photographer and producer, whose dedication to human rights led her to international projects with Amnesty International and the opportunity to create portraits of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Dalai Lama. Her work has appeared in major media outlets including The New York Times, the Boston Globe, Time, PBS’s Frontline, CBS Sunday Morning, the History Channel, YES and Orion magazines.

Jane’s work focuses on confronting racism, exploring human interconnectedness, and supporting youth empowerment. The author of six children’s books, she has worked with the CityKids Foundation, IMPACT in Harlem, Earth Train, and numerous NYC farm-to-school programs. Through her longstanding affiliation with Riverside Church’s Ministry of Peace and Social Justice, Jane has photographed prominent activists including Angela Davis, Cornel West, and Michelle Alexander.

Jane is currently working on a documentary based on Jefferson’s Children, an award-winning book about the descendants of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings she coauthored with Jefferson-Hemmings descendant Shannon LaNier. The coauthors are members of Coming to the Table, an organization founded by descendants of slave owners and enslaved people that works toward racial reconciliation.

View Jane's portfolios at Contact her at or 917-710-5546.

Emmy Award Winning television host, media personality and author, Shannon LaNier has been keeping audiences tuned in his entire life.

Shannon is the co-author of Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family (Random House) a book that he wrote with renowned author, photojournalist and activist Jane Feldman. The book follows his journey to uncover the history behind his heritage as a 9th generation descendant of Thomas Jefferson and slave Sally Hemings. 

Additionally, this Cincinnati native inspires audiences across the globe with captivating speaking engagements that touch on everything from his presidential lineage to his career in media. Most recently, he participated in the White House's National Entrepreneurship Tour, bringing his signature brand of motivational humor to packed live audiences around the country.   

When not on the road as motivational speakers, Shannon produces and hosts television shows like his most recent production, “Arise Entertainment 360,” a daily culture and entertainment series that airs on BET's sister station, Centric, and cable providers globally. Shannon is also known for his work as a correspondent and senior producer on Black Enterprise Magazine’s nationally-syndicated shows: “Black Enterprise Business Report” and “Our World With Black Enterprise.”

Shannon remains an active member of his church, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and the National Association of Black Journalists. He currently lives in New York City with his wife/college sweetheart Chandra and their three children.


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