Which famous person does Jacqueline's father's family claim to be related to in Brown Girl Dreaming?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the poem entitled "the woodsons of ohio," Jacqueline's father's family claims to be able to "trace their history back / to Thomas Woodson of Chillicothe, said to be / the first son / of Thomas Jefferson." Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States of America, serving for eight years from 1801 to 1809. He was born in 1743 and died in 1826.

As well as being the third president of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson is also famous as the principal author of America's 1776 Declaration of Independence and as a key proponent in the American Revolution. His image has been memorialized (along with three other presidents) in the granite face of Mount Rushmore.

In the poem, Jacqueline's father's family, the Woodsons, claim that the reason why there are so many "doctors and lawyers and teachers / athletes and scholars and people in government" in "the Woodson line" is because they had "a head start." Thomas Jefferson, they claim, is just one example—albeit a notable one—of their illustrious ancestry.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial