June Cross's research into racial definitions and 'passing' eventually led her
to explore her own family lineage with the help of Mario de Valdes y Cocom, a
longtime researcher on the African diaspora. He looked into her white mother's
forebears to see whether, as with the famous families he had already
brought to her attention, there were any 'forgotten' or hidden African
ancestors. Besides the possibility that one of her direct lines - Catherine
McBride's mother- might have been a woman of color, he was interested in June's
ties to the interracial lines of the Rogers and the Pearces.
The Pearces were a Pilgrim family whose mixed race became a controversy in
1981 when a black actor was hired to play the role of Abraham Pearce at the
Plimouth Plantation museum. And Adam Rogers was the mulatto son of one of New
England's first anti-slavery proponents.
In addition to exploring the Family Trees (below), you might want to peruse
Mario's Memos to June Cross which offer intriguing glimpses of the genealogical
detective trail of the Pearces and Rogers.
3/18/96 Memo ..... One genealogical trail ends and another - the 17th
century Rogers - emerges.
3/20/96 Memo .... Showing how the Rogers family connection leads
to W.E.B. Dubois.
3/29/96 Memo..... Speculations on June's ancestral tie to New England's
largest African American property owner in the 17th century.
4/12/96..... A rich cache is uncovered: June's connection to the
Pierce line which includes Abraham Pearce, one of the first two African
Americans in the Northeast. Plus, Pearce connections to Winston Churchill and
New York's financier family, the Whitneys.
6/5/96.... More on the Rogers family and their role in early American
June Cross's Mother's Family Tree (back to the 17th century)
June's Father's Family Tree (back to the early 19th century)
Interview with Clark Burdine
Burdine is a genealogist specializing in African American family history
who worked with June and Mario researching her father's family.
discussions | blurred racial lines | audio stories | june's family tree | bi-racial portraits | how to search family trees | readings | reactions
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