Annette Gordon-Reed grew up in east Texas. She majored in History at Dartmouth College, graduating in 1981, and then attended Harvard Law School. Gordon-Reed worked as an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel and was Counsel to the New York City Board of Corrections before becoming a professor of law at New York Law School in 1992. Gordon-Reed wrote the book Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy after first becoming interested in the president as a child. She co-authored Vernon Can Read!: A Memoir and wrote Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History. Gordon-Reed is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Hemingses of Monticello.