My ancestor’s slave’s ancestor contacted me

Richard Reed Watts, Burke, VA. As a boy, me and my brother would disappear upstairs at our grandparent’s house, exploring for hours everything we could get our hands on. It was dark and smelled old and dusty and it was wonderfully beautiful. I remember distinctly coming across the old fragile parchment that was a list […]

Stop saying I can’t be offended.

Becky Watts, North Little Rock, AR. I am an African American, and I am often told by White People when I can and can not be offended. This is extremely hurtful, because I am treated as if I am a 5 year old child who’s hyper imagination created racism. You can not tell me not […]


Teach the truth….THE WHOLE TRUTH!

M. D. K. C., Deep South, USA. At some point in history, the powers that be thought it best to skew history. I’m sure the reasoning for this is very obvious. In my schools years, 89-current, we are not being taught the whole truth. Why? Whose agenda does this fit? Why were children not told […]


Which category do I belong to?

Patrilie Hernandez, Washington, DC. When you look at me, what race do you see? Do you see my dark skinned grandparents, whose African relatives escaped from the Dutch slave trade? Do you see my last name, which reflects my “Latina” heritage, or do you see a brunette “white” girl, after hearing the way I speak […]


My ancestors did not enslave yours.

Ardean Orr, Syracuse, NY. All four of my grandparents immigrated from Italy, so I’m pure Italian, but also white. My father was a jazz musician who often played with musicians who happened to be black, so I grew up in a tolerant home when it wasn’t popular. Growing up in America it seemed like blacks […]

First mistake was bringing the Negro

H. Ulfheim, Erie, PA. The first mistake was bringing the negro to America. The next mistake was making him a slave and giving him a sense of belonging. The third mistake was letting him learn. The fourth mistake was freeing him, and the fifth mistake was giving him fair treatment, which he abused. Now he […]

I’m just American, not African American.

Lottie MSF, St. Louis, MO. Born in LA, raised in Compton, became an adult in Bay Area, relocated to MO. Loved by entrepreneur/homemaker grandparents. Raised by entrepreneur, GED, get the job done, courageous, make it happen parents with 50+ years of marriage. I’m a well balanced contributing, career woman, parent, wife, aunt & daughter. My […]

I have never enslaved anyone’s ancestors

Paul, Colorado Springs, CO. I am not the enemy. I am a 40-year old white, middle-class male- the prime demographic; according to some. It hurts me when people assume that I’m bigoted, racist, sexist or homophobic. To many racial and gender-based groups; I am looked at as the enemy. Neither I, nor my family has […]


Name of cemetery doesn’t change history

Lonna Jo Bowen-AlMoctar, Louisville, KY. I am from a clan of hillbillies in Eastern Kentucky. My family has a swath of land, called Bowen Farms, near Red River Gorge. As long as I can remember, the old cemetery on my family’s land has been called the “slave cemetery”. My Uncle has always kept up with […]

Sins of the Fathers live on.

Johanna Riddle, New Smyrna Beach, FL. I’ve always known that I was descended from slave owning families. This is something I shared with my students as we began to explore the history of slavery in the United States. I’ve always believed that we must be willing to take an honest look at history, and at […]

From a white teenage girl’s perspective

Victoria N. Fortson, GA My ancestors came to America just like many others. Just because I am white, does not mean my family “owned” “slaves”. When an African American girl says to me “you’re so lucky to have that hair” or “I would pay a lot for some of your hair”, it makes me mad. […]


Who are your ancestors. Be honest.

Alison Bailey, Bloomington, IL. Yes. I’ve been able to find out who my 3d greatgrandmother is until recently. She was the bastard child of Joseph C. Van Mater, or “Big Joe,” as he was called. The Van Mater family were early settlers in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Big Joe was the largest slave holder north […]

Underpaid? Overworked? Frustrated? NOW imagine slavery.

John Leo, Sag Harbor, NY. This may be redundant since the release of and discussion about Twelve Years a Slave, but for many years I’ve seen and heard people complain about bosses and working conditions and I’ve empathized. But I’ve also reflected on how these modern days woes compare to SLAVERY. Being the property of […]


I’m More than, Less than Accepted

Nicole Reynolds, Virginia Beach, VA. Race often goes hand and hand with self worth. Who am I in the world? What does that answer mean? How does it affect my life? Is there anything I can do to change that? I have Ugandan Blood, Taino Blood, Spanish Blood, Past African American Slave blood. What race […]

Our slave’s daughter sent me an email.

William Kincaid, St. Louis, MO. I use some literary license in choosing the word “daughter”. She is actually the great-great-granddaughter of one of my family’s former slaves, if you want to get technical about it. But a six word statement is no place to get technical. Regardless there are not enough words to express how […]

Feeling Conflicted about my family history

Romaine Martin II, Richmond, VA. I Think is very therapeutic. You can spend hours researching your family’s cold cases. One bit of information I found out left me feeling unsure of how to feel at all. “Green Gore was born, in 1816, the son of Robert Gore (1783 – 1870/1880) and Tomsey Jarrel,(1778 – […]


Gene Michael Lipan, TX Tired of being made to feel like I am supposed to be guilty of something. No black alive in America has ever been a slave to anyone; No whites alive in America have ever owned slaves. GET OVER IT!!! STOP MILKING THIS “RACISM RACKET”!!!! NOBODY OWES YOU ANYTHING, least of all, […]

African-American, no. American whose’s black, yes!

Vanessa Minneapolis, MN I HATE the term African-American. I don’t hold citizenship to any country on the African continent so why do people feel the need to call me that. I’m the descendent of people who were forcible sold and brought to the country, raped, beaten, and denied personhood and their rights. They slaved and […]

Forgive, I am not my ancestor.

Donna Hanson Bella Vista, AK My ancestors were slave owners and themselves indentured servants and sharecroppers. I’ve worked on my family genealogy for over 14 years and find both the goodness and harshness of humankind interwoven throughout the generations.

“I wish I had my n*****-shooter”

Julian Riggs Smith Durham, NH Growing up in a little town in Louisiana during the Second Word War, I found nothing strange about the fact that my white grandparents often ate breakfast and lunch at the kitchen table kitchen with ‘Stell, their black cook, and John, her husband–and that John and ‘Stell never ate with […]

Why me, I’m not a slave owner??

Jo Pembroke, NC Why call me racist because im white and believe in traditional values… i feel its not fair I can help what people did before my time. if so shouldn’t black Americans hate Africans for selling them to European traders also??

Well, you weren’t a slave so…

Brendon Milwaukee, WI I’ve heard this used in conversations and discussions around race and it is embarrassing. It completely discounts the persons position as if to say “you’re free now or I never owned a slave, why are you complaining?”.

Slaves yes, but an “M” in the census!

Nancy Buell Tempe, AZ I expected to find slaves in my ancestors census records but I did not expect to find ” M”. Which meant the children were 1/2 white and there were 3 of them. Who was the father? It sure looked like it had to be the father or the sons, all my […]

They make better slaves than citizens.

John Littleton Deerfield, IL Blacks in America today are too far removed from slavery that any and all complaints and entitlements are irrelevant. Blacks are the biggest racists in America. They’re so smart, so brilliant, so special? As even The Economist pointed out, affirmative action must be abolished. If we’re all equal, there should be […]

White Baby Boomer Low Wage Slave.

Skyler Crane Oceanside, CA There is a small splash of African in my ancestry, never talked about, though obvious in physical traits of many of my relatives, Why I give my Race Card sentence is that born a baby boomer to low, very low, middle class WASP parents, i was not given or alerted to […]


To forgive is not in me

Gary Dunn, Brooklyn, NY. I find it extremely hard to forgive those who where responsible and benefited from the enslavement of us.I want to punish them the way they punished us. Make them strip naked, beat them, separate them from their families, deny them education, jobs,businesses. Make them feel inferior and back it all up […]

There is only one race–human.

Patricia Callahan Augusta, ME In memory of S.C., my BFF and grandson of a slave. He passed away unexpectedly 6/10/13, a young, vibrant 83 year-old. I would have called him today to say Happy Dr. King’s birthday. He would have said something like, “but the holiday is not until Monday.” I would have said, I […]

Ancestor shame – free, slave, Black, White

Lisa Roy Denver, CO I have done lots of genealogy research and DNA tests on my family. Most African Americans are mixed race. My great great great great great grandfather Thomas’s Buckingham was white and married a Black woman in the late 1700s. I am their descendant. Yet my family has a hard time accepting […]

Every Race Has Been A Slave

Jimmy Naughton Colorado Springs, CO Why does any race deserve restitution for their hardships? Every race has been enslaved, yet today’s discussions only ever focus on the Atlantic Slave Trade, i.e., the black slave. Hell, the Irish slaves were more plentiful in the English Empire, they were cheaper and treated far worse since they were […]

Black folks: please forgive white ancestors!

Linda Robinson Philadelphia, PA All of us are shaped by the culture and historical period in which we developed as children. That culture almost becomes a part of our DNA – it’s that imbedded in us. The white slave-traders of centuries ago in Africa were shaped by the cultural idea that dark-skinned peoples of Africa […]

Topic: slavery. All eyes on Brooke

Daniel Portland, OR I grew up in a working-class and ever-so-slightly diverse part of a very white city, but I the bus across town with two dozen others to school K-12. As I grow older I sometimes recall classroom memories that make my current self uncomfortable. In 7th grade social studies we discussed slavery, and […]

What my southern mom taught me.

Donna Lovelady Indianapolis, IN Born in the south in 1924, mom was the granddaughter of a slave owner. She saw blacks pushed to the back of the bus, unjustly convicted and forced to hide from whites. It broke her heart. She made sure to teach me that color doesn’t make anyone better or worse. One […]