I just finished watching the episode of "Who Do You Think You Are" tonight on NBC in which Spike Lee was confronted by the slavery issues within his ancestry. It also brought back to me the episode for Emmitt Smith in which he actually went to slavery blocks were they were bought and sold. Both had very diferent responses to this event in their backgrounds, yet both revealed the painful sore it leaves even today.
I can remember with shock and surprise when reading the Raley Journal that there were family members who had slaves in Kentucky. There were just a couple mentioned, and only a small number, but it bothered me. I also came across a document from North Carolina under my Cozart line which specified the sale of a slave from family member to the other.
I guess I always assumed that this part of our history would somehow magically blow over the top of my ancestors, that they would not be touched by it or partcipate in a practice that hurts my soul. But I cannot hide my head in the sand and believe that all my ancestors were pure in all their motives, or perfect in their actions, consider them above the actions of their peers, or beyond godliness. I can't expect my ancestors to be something akin to God itself - instead they made mistakes, followed crazy doctor remedies, lost their cool, married the wrong person, lost their money, got in with the wrong group, and so on.
I cannot boast of the moments when my ancestors were part of initial settlers in Kentucky, or was a French Huguenot that settled in New Amsterdam in the 1600s, without also accepting the moments when they made mistakes. Sometimes its easier to avoid to tough conversations. I am glad "Who Do You Think You Are?" encourages us to look at all the issues.
Thanks for listening