I spent my formative years in Boston where I was born. My Aunt married a biracial man when I was just a year old, so I grew up looking into the face of a man who loved us all; my two siblings and his three kids. Racism and color differences were not even noticed or existed in our family.
Then in 1960 our family moved to the south and did I ever have a lot of questions for my mother. And she was very open and told me as much as she could about the subject. I sure did not hear anything about it in school (Florida and Georgia); it was just ignored. Because of the blantant racism in the South; I did not feel I fit in and still don’t.
My Auntie and Uncle could never come to visit us when we were children because they would have been arrested and thrown in jail because inter-racial marriage was illegal back then. That practice wasn’t outlawed until Loving VS Virginia went to the SCOTUS in 1967.
In the early 60s, the Civil Rights Movement became national news and my mother sat me down and we watched it together, I thought that slavery had not touched our family (except for my uncle and his children) till I began doing research in the public library and in particular the Heritage Room.
That is where I learned that my father’s family were well known plantation owners in Concord, NC, and owned many slaves for several generations.
It took me years to accept that my ancestors were slave owners, and to accept that I was not responsible for that barbaric behavior. But I have also like my mother shared this most horrific, disgusting and immoral practice of slavery in our shameful history with my own children and their children. We have no racists in our family because of my Aunt, Uncle and my very brave mother.
I want to personally thank Professor Gates for his life’s work on the issue of slavery. I have watched every series he has done multiple times.
Thank you very much Professor Gates; you are my hero!
His series should be required viewing for every single student in the USA in order for them to graduate high school!