Many years after slavery, people are still funny about what color we are and the history that goes with that. I’m a white woman whose family lived in the south during colonial times. My father grew up in New Orleans. When I told him I wanted to go “down South” to do some ancestry sleuthing, he discouraged it, telling me to look up my mother’s ancestors instead. After my father died, I went to Louisiana and Mississippi and to the places where my ancestors lived. I stumbled upon distant relatives still living in the same area where many years ago colonists thought it was okay to enslave others. These distant relatives were very nice and friendly, until I told them I wanted to find the branches on our family tree that connect black with white. They did not say anything mean, but they shut off communication. It’s too bad because I suspect they know but have no interest in telling me. Recent advances in DNA testing and people sharing information will tell us a lot. Until then, I’ll keep sleuthing and using my creativity to piece together a fractured southern heritage.
Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.
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