Black People : Can You Prove Your Ancestors Were Slaves?

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Destee, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Hello Family,

    In Brother OldSoul's class today (Sunday actually), he asked us this question.

    He said, if they paid us reparations tomorrow, would you be able to prove that your Ancestors were slaves? Do you realize they expect that the majority of us will not have proof to present, so they will only have to pay $1.39 in total? They know that the more distance they put between slavery and the actual payment of reparations, will lessen the amount they must pay, for the proof will get lost in the years.

    So how would you prove it?

    You do know that you'd have to prove it to them, right?

    So how would you do that?

    What evidence would you present?

    Having Black skin will not be enough.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  2. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yes I can prove it, and so can the majority of African Americans. This is actually quite easy Destee! All one has to do is go to the towns/cities where their families lived and look at court & census information (look for birth certificates, land deeds, etc) from the mid-1800s. All of these documents will have a persons "status" listed. All of this information is still keep on file in most city court houses & town archives! Not only can one prove their ancestors were slaves, they can also find out who owned them. I know this for a fact, because I have done this type of research before. Of course this type of info might mysteriously disappear of the call for reparations builds more stream...however this type of knowledge should be research by us anyway!
     
  3. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Brother Pan, I think the approach is simple but the research won't come easy to some people. However, there's help for those that aren't keen on conducting investigations into their family history. There are organizations or people who would be happy to do it for them...for a fee, of course!

    But also, some might find it helpful to know that you don't HAVE to get all of your official documents through government sources either. There are other, just as reputable ways in which to acquire historical records to build your family tree. Also, I think it's important for it to be made clear that not ALL records are on file in the various states/cities/county courthouses around the U.S., nor can they be located in the Library of Congress. There are some huge gaps in census data due to a fire that burned several years worth of significant records sometime during the early to mid 1900's. (I believe). The State of South Carolina didn't start keeping census data until 1950 so any family lineages in that state prior to 1950...well, you won't find them there.

    I believe the U.S. Census began in the late 1700's and at that time, slaves didn't have names recorded. When slaves were emancipated, you begin to see names for "colored" or "Negro" in the data. It's best to realize that the names were chosen either at random or because of familiarity with a former slave owner. If proof of slave lineage is required to receive reparations, then we must be able to validate our heritage somehow and show a connection to a particular individual. Many former slaves chose the same names and so you will see several in the same country and connecting counties.

    It's a lot of research and a lot of reading. It's not as "easy" as it may seem because you do have to also have some knowledge of history at the same time to be able to plug pieces in gaps that surely many of us will encounter during our research. That's a good reason why members should consider joining an existing group of genealogical researchers in their community or think of starting one to share information and help each other get over the humps.

    I just thought it was important to share that because it's not an easy task but it certainly can be an exciting one.

    Queenie :spinstar:
     
  4. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is very true NN...it may not be as "easy" as I originally implied, but it is indeed possible.
     
  5. toylin

    toylin Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yeah, I can prove it.. on one side of my family. We have the pictures and most of the old records, plus we have always known the names of the towns, counties, and what have you.
     
  6. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    to heck with my Ancestors, i can prove that I am a slave :whip:
     
  7. KWABENA

    KWABENA STAFF STAFF

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    It is a joke if I cannot prove it. My 62 year-old uncle's Father's Great Grandfather was a slave, and fought against the Confederates in the Civil War. Also, one thing that makes me very proud about him is the fact that his Father, one of my much older uncles, was the First Black Mayor of the State of New York. I also have a 64 year-old uncle who remembers our ancestors being enslaved like it was yesterday. Sure I can prove it.

    Cedric Denson
     
  8. KWABENA

    KWABENA STAFF STAFF

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    Most of us still are bruh.

    Did you know that slavery still goes on in Kenya?

    Cedric Denson
     
  9. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Thanks everyone for responding. I do encourage us all to begin the process of getting whatever documents we need, for our word will not be enough. Let us be prepared for the day when reparations will be ours. Get those documents, put them in a safe place, and if you happen to become an Ancestor before reparations take place, make sure those behind you know where they are and what to do.

    They expect us not to be prepared.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  10. MANASIAC

    MANASIAC Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    It would be pretty hard for me to prove it on my fathers side. We have spanish ancestry and we having been having a hardtime finding our Great Grandfather Jose Rodriquez. And then going back to Cuba, that might take a life time. My Grandmothers family on my fathers side is pretty simple to trace, the same for my mothers.

    My Mothers side may be a bit difficult as well, Her Grandfather was actually half indian too some and half white too others. But I think we could pull it off.

    Here in Florida blacks were not required to have birth certificates until 1927 and unfortuantely I my family did not do any record keeping such as genealogy.

    I think however, that I can do it, it will just take some time and money.
     
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