Thomas Jefferson exhibit coming to the African American Museum in Dallas

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DALLAS -- On June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas were freed and the holiday now known as Juneteenth was born! Only problem is, it was two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Now fast forward to today, where the African American Museum in Dallas is celebrating Juneteenth by introducing a new exhibit that's coming in September called "Slavery At Jefferson's Monticello: Paradox Of Liberty".

"The exhibit that's coming here in a few months is not the story of Monticello but the story of America, and the story of a people," said Gayle Jessup White, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson.

And what makes Thomas Jefferson's story so fascinating to many is the fact that he owned many slaves throughout his life while fighting slavery along the way.

For example, in 1778 -- he introduced a law in Virginia that prohibited the importation of slaves from Africa. In 1785, he proposed a plan of gradual emancipation.

And in 1788 – he’s quoted as saying, "You know that nobody wishes more ardently to see an abolition not only of the trade but of the condition of slavery..."

Yet, not only did Jefferson father several children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, but slavery persisted until 1863 in most states – and until 1865 in Texas.

"Jefferson owned 607 people throughout his life. The man who gave us the words 'all men are created equal,' owned people. Including my family," said White.

In a way, Jefferson’s life-story can also be said about about many people throughout history. And it can be summed up in two simple words: it's complicated.

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