Legend of Royalty
The legend in my family is that my paternal grandmother, a woman named Zilla King, was a decendent of Ethiopian royalty of the Amhara region. My father stated that his mother, Hattie, always told him that there were no slaves in our family, but indentured servants. She also told an elder sibling that her mother was full blooded Ethiopian and either her father or grandfather had fled Ethiopia due to a political uprising. How they came to the states is a mystery I would love to uncover. Best guess would be that this happened sometime in the early 1800′s. Unfortunately I never met Zilla and was too young to know Hattie and, of course, everyone else is long deceased.
They all lived in Alabama. It is possible that Zilla married someone named Geo. Hale and then someone with the last name of Childers. Oddly my paternal grandmother Hattie used King as her maiden name and listed King as her mother, Zilla, maiden name. Hattie married David L. Stoudenmire and the family migrated to Ohio in 1917. It is not known when or where Zilla died or if she had any other children besides Hattie.
After watching the episode about Mr. legend and Ms. Sykes, it could be possible that both my paternal grandparents were born of free blacks. My paternal grandfather, however, was so light that he was listed as white on the only census record I could find and was almost listed as such on his death certificate, but it was crossed out and ‘colored’ was written in.
So that’s my story.