Artist Marisa Williamson came to Paris recently in the guise of Sally Hemings, the slave-mistress of Thomas Jefferson. Williamson was turning a film about Hemings, who could have chosen to remain a free woman in Paris rather than return with Jefferson to the United States to live as a slave.
Dressed in period costume, Williamson played the role of Hemings, a young woman who was “struggling to decide whether to claim her freedom in a foreign land, or return home…” She interviewed a number of African Americans to learn why they came to Paris and how they perceived themselves as blacks living in France.
Williamson was assisted by Charlotte Bayer, who filmed the encounter of Hemings with our own Monique Y. Wells on a park bench in Paris, and her sister Avery Williamson, who photographed the shoot. The film is scheduled for release in August 2014.
Information about Marisa Williamson’s film project can be found here: Hemings in Paris.