As Black History Month came to a close, two news items prove that the legacy of slavery in America is far from over.
The first was former presidential candidate, the Rev. Al SharptonÃ¢Â€Â™s, revelation that one of his ancestors was owned by a relative of late South Carolina Senator and segregationist Strom Thurmond.
Professional genealogists working for Ancestry.com found that SharptonÃ¢Â€Â™s great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, was a slave owned by Julia Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom ThurmondÃ¢Â€Â™s great-great-grandfather. Coleman Sharpton was later freed.
In the second report, a geneaologist claims that an ancestor of current presidential hopeful Barack ObamaÃ¢Â€Â™s white mother owned slaves.
According to the research, one of ObamaÃ¢Â€Â™s great-great-great-great grandfathers, George Washington Overall, owned two slaves who were recorded in the 1850 Census in Nelson County, Ky. The same records show that one of ObamaÃ¢Â€Â™s great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers, Mary Duvall, also owned two slaves.
None of this should be a surprise to anyone. If your ancestors were in the United States before 1860, then it is highly likely that their lives were touched by the peculiar institution in one way or another. So why is this such a big deal? [Read more…]