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I Am a Descendant of James Madison and His Slave

My whole life, my mother told me, ‘Always remember — you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president.’

An illustration of an open locket that has James Madison’s portrait scratched out on one side, and Coreen, one the other.

PPresident Madison did not have children with his wife, Dolley. Leading scholars believe he was impotent, infertile, or both. But the stories I have heard since my childhood say that James…



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Bettye Kearse

Bettye Kearse is a retired pediatrician and an oral historian who explores her unique family legacy. She descends from President James Madison.