Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate

*This morning (July 3), NBC News sent out a tweet reporting that archaeologists had at last discovered the sleeping quarters of Sally Hemings, a slave who bore at least six children from former President Thomas Jefferson.

The news, however, was overshadowed by NBC News’ choice of words – referring to Hemings as Jefferson’s “mistress,” as if she had a choice.

Twitter took offense.

Hemings’ newly discovered room at Monticello, which measures 14 feet, 8 inches by 13 feet, was found next to Jefferson’s bedroom.

It had been converted into a men’s bathroom in 1941.

Historians had used a description from one of Jefferson’s grandsons which said Hemings’ room was in the south wing of Monticello. Archaeologists began digging and found the original brick, hearth, fireplace and floors that date back to the early 1800s.

Archaeologists investigate Monticello's South Wing Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello

Archaeologists investigate Monticello’s South Wing (Photo by Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello)

This room, part of the South Dependency of Monticello is going to be restored as the residence of Sally Hemings. Monticello is currently working to more fully integrate the stories of the enslaved at the historic plantation, Tuesday February 6, 2017. Norm Shafer / The Washington Post/Getty Images

This room, part of the South Dependency of Monticello is going to be restored as the residence of Sally Hemings, Tuesday February 6, 2017.