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Special Video Reports: George & Venus...Did the father of our country also have a relationship with a slave? (9 minutes)

drawing of george washington on a horse talking to slaves

play (quicktime)

Inspired by the Jefferson-Hemings DNA results, descendants of a slave named West Ford have come forward with their own strong family oral history about one of the nation's Founding Fathers--George Washington.

West Ford's mother was a slave named Venus. The Ford family history relates that George Washington, then General of the Continental Army, was West Ford's father. The story was handed down intact through at least two separate branches of the Ford family tree which had no contact with one another until very recently.

In this special video report, FRONTLINE examines the descendants' claims and explores the importance of listening to oral history even when it cannot be corroborated by written documentation. FRONTLINE follows West Ford's descendants to Mt. Vernon, where Washington historians have so far found no evidence to support their claim. Will DNA again decide the issue?

You'll need either QuickTime or RealPlayer G2 (or 7) to view these clips.

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