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African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In Search of Our Roots -- Buy the companion book now from ShopPBS
Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
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STORYTELLER LOCATION YEAR TOOK PLACE TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN HOW YOU HEARD
My grandmother told me this story Alabama 1830s Native American Cherokee Family legend

My grandmother told me a story about either her grandmother or great-grandmother who, with her two brothers were hidden in a cave by slaves because their lives were in danger because they were Native American. They were being forced off their land. The slaves knew where the cave was because it was used to hide when they needed to. I believe it was probably during the late 1830's when the Trail of Tears took place--when the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole were forced to move west to Indian Territory (modern Oklahoma). I'm not sure if it's the same ancestor or not, but I was also told that one day, my grandmother's grandmother as a little girl, was sent with her brothers to buy a bag of sugar from the trading post. Sugar was a precious commodity back in then and I assume it must have been for a very special occasion. On their way back home, some mean men on horseback, who hated Indians, ripped the the bag of sugar from great-great-grandmother's hands and cut it opened with a knife and spilled it on the ground. I believe that it was my great-great-great-grandmother who was hidden in the cave, because she would have been 9 yrs old during the time of the Trail of Tears, and she did have 2 brothers and I learned that there are a lot of caves in Alabama. But unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any written evidence of this story I was told. It doesn't mean it never happened, but just that there isn't any written records of this story. I was told that something happened to great-great-great-grandmother's parents and another family took her and her brothers in, but I haven't found evidence of this. I think, the mother died and the father remarried and they moved west to east Texas. My aunt as a child had learned of the Trail of Tears from school and came home and asked my great-grandmother if our family was on the Trail of Tears. She answered and said "No hon, we had our own Trail of Tears".

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Major corporate funding for African American Lives 2 and its outreach initiatives is provided by The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Additional corporate funding is provided by Buick.
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