Monday, March 11, 2013

My Azreal


I have been reluctant for years to research my ancestors. VERY reluctant. I have some family lore. And my father’s side of the family has regular reunions and they did it. But as is the case with Black people in this wilderness of North America. There comes a point where you have to stop. Not because you want to, but because the records won’t go back any further. I hit the slave wall on most of the sides of my family.

Slavery. Slaves weren’t considered humans. They were considered property. Unless one knows the devil that held one’s ancestors in bondage the trail stops right there. I tried to locate the slaveholders but to no avail. There is a possibility that my ancestors changed their names upon emancipation. A lot of Black folks when they were granted their freedom changed their names to one of their own choosing. By making that defiant act of freedom closes a door that future generations cannot reenter. So while I can find ancestors that were born enslaved but died free, I can’t find the ancestors before them.

I did, however, found a white sire. Apparently, my great great grandfather was a devil. I am not proud of this. Although my mother is. And I don’t understand why. I knew that this happened. I guess the militant in me just never thought that it could happen to me and mine. Yeah I have really light people in my family. But that could come from anywhere, right? The Original DNA has all the shades of the rainbow right?

The interesting thing about that situation is that this devil ancestor actually married my great great grand mother. How does this happen when that was illegal for races to wed? Well I noticed that my great great grandfather changed his name as well has his race. When he lived in his parent’s home, he was considered white and spelled his name one way. (I researched those white people to see if they always claimed to be white and they did.) After he reported to the census that he was “colored or mulatto” he spelled his name differently though with the same phonetics. him/devil was now eligible to marry my great great grandmother. So that white man turned his back on his race, to marry a freed slave. I found his death certificate. He is buried in the family cemetery. I don’t know why I find all of this strange. He chose to live his life as a Black man for the woman he loved, why not be buried with her?

My mother seems to be way more interested in the white man and the slave he married. Than her grandfather who was born a slave. I found records of her slave grandfather and his father! But that white man holds so much fascination for her. Only she knows why. Asking her leads her to confusion. And my mother isn’t demented…. Yet.

This information got superimposed on the episode of Roots:the Next Generation I watched this weekend. The same thing kind of happened in that episode. I get why I don't want white men in my family tree, but I also get that I don't get to make that decision. It is what it is. And I am not any less Original.

The “Best Part” that I am taking from these revelations is my family seems to have children very late. As you can see, I am writing this in 2013 and telling you that my grand parents were all born in the 1900’s. And all but 1 of their parents were born before emancipation. I’m not that old… unless you count being born in the 70’s as old. These men and women have shown and proven that it ain’t over till it’s over. And that every Black woman isn’t a teen mom. That infact many wait and have a quiver full of children later and are old enough to raise said quiver.

Slavery wasn't that long ago.....