Wednesday, The New York Times published a fascinating article dealing with Michelle Obama’s family history from slavery to First Lady of the United States. I highly recommend that you read it, click here for the story. Two of the interesting features of the article is a paper trail that shows original documents of Michelle’s ancestors being willed to successive generations. Some of the documents have a yellow box that allows you to get detailed information of what each page says. The other feature is an interactive family tree with some narration included, click here for that page. I bring this to your attention not only because it is a good read but to ask the question, what exactly do we know about ourselves and our family histories?
One of the most horrific practices of the slave trade was the practice of separating the slaves in the indoctrination period, this was done to specifically destroy any tribal or familial bonds that the slaves may have had. That had the disastrous effect of ensuring that slaves with different dialects could not communicate with each other and had no genuine affinity for those in the same plight other than they were all black. This same behavior was employed once the slaves were introduced to life on the plantations. Family units were constantly being destroyed by the selling of one’s children and often their mates. I am not a social scientist but I have long suspected that the dysfunction of some black families have become predisposed to troublesome familial relationships. But that is not the track I want to take here.
What I would like to ask is how many of you, black or white can trace your family past two or three generations? I am fortunate that on my maternal grandmother’s side I can go back three to four generations. In fact, she put together a report before she had her stroke that I hope to make available to my family on DVD very soon. That has all of the elements of black, white, and Indian blood. I’ve read that the Indian blood is highly exaggerated in most cases. However, my great maternal grandmother was indeed half Cherokee. She had the scalps to prove it. LOL
I want to know more about the paternal side of my family. They were practically wiped out during the tuberculosis epidemic in Washington, D.C. during the 1940’s. Only four of seven children survived and my paternal grandmother was not one of them yet she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. If only by photograph. Human curiosity is a wonderful thing and I will continue to explore it until my dying breath.
I am not famous, nor do I suspect that The New York Times will champion my cause like they did Mrs. Obama’s. But I would like to take that National Geographic DNA test to determine exactly where from Africa my roots lie. But I’d also like to know where I got the name Hardy. If he’s rich, I want my fucking inheritance.