Recently in the news, questions surrounding Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris‘ ancestry has sparked a series of debates on social media concerning identity and slavery. In 2018, Donald J. Harris, Kamala Harris’ father, said in an essay that he is the descendant of Hamilton Brown, an Irish man who enslaved people in Jamaica. This really shouldn’t be too surprising as we find that many westerners of African descent possess European ancestry. In an article hosted on the NPR.org platform, entitled Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. On DNA Testing And Finding His Own Roots, we find Gates in the direct transcript from the show Finding Your Roots has this to say:
“The average African-American is 24 percent European. Now think about that. And most DNA companies in the United States will tell you that they have never tested an African-American who is 100 percent from sub-Saharan Africa.”
One thing that is often NOT considered by African Americans in terms of the percentages of their European ancestry is what historical impact and legacy are at the core of their heritage. For example, based on the chart below if all of us were to go back 17 generations, we would all have 65,536 14th generational great-grandparents. Now if we are an African American with 24% European ancestry that would mean we would have 15,729 direct European ancestors, who lived during the colonial era. If this same African American was born in 1950, fourteen generations would be around the year 1470. This would mean that African Americans born in the year 1950 had 15,729 direct European ancestors before Columbus sailed to the Americas. Can you imagine how many European cousins this African American have today? If an African American was to report only 5% European ancestry from a DNA test that would still mean that they would have 3,277 direct European ancestors going back 14 generations. Where are the European descendants of those European 14th generational great grandparents of the average African American? This is what makes racism in America so disgusting since it all boils down to murder, hate, and mayhem for people who are blood-related! So God or the ancestors have nothing to do with it at this point. If you are in love with one side of your heritage so much so that you’ll ignore 15,000 European ancestors, I can only pray for your well-being. Good luck!
And while we are on the subject, a look at any generational chart knocks out the conspiracy theory that all United States Presidents are related. They should be because both black and white Americans are related to these same presidents. Perhaps this is the same perspective that African American slave owners had.
On the subject of the African American slave owner, even the “woke community” is failing its knowledge and impact of this subject. In an article appearing in The Root, entitled Did Black People Own Slaves, author Henry Louis Gates Jr., provides the following statistics:
“So what do the actual numbers of black slave owners and their slaves tell us? In 1830, the year most carefully studied by Carter G. Woodson, about 13.7 percent (319,599) of the black population was free. Of these, 3,776 free Negroes owned 12,907 slaves, out of a total of 2,009,043 slaves owned in the entire United States, so the numbers of slaves owned by black people over all was quite small by comparison with the number owned by white people. In his essay, ” ‘The Known World’ of Free Black Slaveholders,” Thomas J. Pressly, using Woodson’s statistics, calculated that 54 (or about 1 percent) of these black slave owners in 1830 owned between 20 and 84 slaves; 172 (about 4 percent) owned between 10 to 19 slaves; and 3,550 (about 94 percent) each owned between 1 and 9 slaves. Crucially, 42 percent owned just one slave.”
The idea that there were approximately 3,776 African American slave owners in 1830 has never prompted Hollywood to create a slave movie illustrating what went on in these plantations. Why? In another article posted by Notable Kentucky African American Database, under the topic American Slave Owners In Kentucky, it states:
“In 1924 the Research Department of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History completed a study of the free Negro slave owners found in the 1830 U. S. Federal Census. The study found that there were 3,777 Negro slave owners in the United States. Negro slave owners were listed in 29 Kentucky counties (see below). Ownership may have meant the purchase of a spouse, an individual’s children, or other relatives who were not emancipated. Ownership was also an investment: purchased children and adults may or may not have been given the opportunity to work off their purchase price in exchange for their freedom.”
African American slave owners made the best use of their position by buying their spouse and in some cases children in order to keep their family together and prevent further hardship. However, some records reveal that some African American slave owners treated their slaves far worse than any white slave ower as covered in the following video about South Carolina’s very own African American slave owner named William Ellison (See Tampa Bay Times Dr. Ellison’s Secret Is free At Last).
Perhaps, in light of our current discussion, the Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t really about the benefit of the freed slave as much as it was a device to deter the growing wealth of the African American slave owner who was wealthier than the average white slave owner. The Root explains the fervor of slaves in Louisiana:
“The free colored population [native] of Louisiana … own slaves, and they are dearly attached to their native land … and they are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for abolitionism; no love for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana … They will fight for her in 1861 as they fought [to defend New Orleans from the British] in 1814-1815.”
To be continued……