Feeling Conflicted about my family history

Romaine Martin II,
Richmond, VA.

I Think Ancestry.com 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 – 1850/1853) in Island Creek, Virginia. On 4 April 1840, Green’s parents gave him 217 acres of land on Island Creek, in the Pipestem area of Mercer County, West Virginia. Green never married, but, two years after receiving his property, he began raising a family with his negro slave, Sarah. By 1850, he had four children by her.”

How do I reconcile the fact that my 3 x great Grandmother “Sarah” was held captive in a “relationship” where she was viewed as property? Some people would say this was a type of “love”… but to me at best it would have been a form of Stockholm syndrome. As a Black man, I can take no pride in the history…but as a human being I can acknowledge the past, explore the steps of my ancestors and be thankful I’m here to escort my family into the future.


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