"Roots of Freedom"
Season 2 Premiere September 23, 2014 8pm PBS
Henry Louis Gates
The Book of Life
Ben Affleck ~ Kandi Alexander ~ Ben Jealous
Another Great week! "The Fight for Freedom"!
Dr. Gates shows how all 3 Guests Lives are defined by 2 Wars.
1. The Revolutionary War & the Civil War.
2. How did their Ancestors stories get Lost in their Family?
Proud Member of the NAACP; I am. Dr. Gates shows how exactly how Ben's family's history got Lost? Why so much of his Ancestry, his Life work and as a Person why he is who he is Today? It's all there in his Family History. In my opinion. Through DNA testing he found out he was 80% Euro & 18%SSA. His are way higher than mine. Im 51Euro and 47SSA.
Ben's Grandfather who was the Eldest got disinherited for marrying a Black Woman. So that side of his Father's family was out of their lives.
Peter G. Morgan was Ben's 3rd Great Grandfather that is who he knew about and mirrored his Life after. He was their Frederick Douglass for his Family. The Civil Rights Icon in my Family is My Cousin Aaron Sellers. I found it so Amazing the resemblance of Mr. Morgan to Ben......
Mr. Morgan actually had "Manumission" Papers. He was a able to be deeded Free on July 7th, 1857 Those documents are hard to come by. He was a Shoemaker. He had saved enough money to BUY his Freedom! I was so overwhelmed when Ben and Dr. Gates discussed: for every "Pound" he pounded those nails whether it was 20 or 2,000 or how many shoes did he have to make? That was a moment in time when all Mr. Morgan could think, I'm that much Closer to Freedom! Even tho' he Paid his Freedom it could still be taking away from you at any time!
1860 census comes! Most Negroes are still enslaved. Mr. Morgan was a Slave owner! The Glorious moment was his 4 Slaves were FAMILY! a Wife and 3 Daughters!
Can you IMAGINE!?
You have to OWN your Family in order for their Safety in a ironic way it was out of LOVE as well. For them to be Safe in what way that means for the Time of Slavery?
Ben is imagining his own family, his own Children. Trying to view and put himself in his Ancestor, his Great Grandfather's shoes and Life. and he begins to cry......We can only imagine? Can you Imagine in our mind right now to keep your Wife and children as Slaves to keep them from harm? What would we do? At what costs to save our family the best way we could, with what we had?
Dr. Gates says; he was caught between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
The year of 1864 he signs a Letter of Emancipation for his Family. In which he wrote:
"I, Peter G. Morgan, A Free Man of Color, for and in, consideration of the natural love and affection which I bear for my wife,Julia Anne Morgan and our children...I do here by manumit, emancipate and forever set them free from bondage to me or to anyone else, my said slaves, and I do furthermore endow with them all the privileges and amenities of free persons of color".
Dr. Gates and Ben commiserate about Would we have the Guts and Conviction to throw caution to the Wind or to Stand up and Do this for our Family who are Slaves?
I wonder too if I would be Strong enough to do this? I would only Hope and Pray I would. To be that Strong. These are the things my Ancestors, my Granddaddy Ike Ivery had to endure. There is Oral History told to his children. One Day the Slave owner wanted to hit Granddaddy Ike's Sister and he told that Man don't you ever hit her again or I'll kill you! They say that Slave owner never did hit her again or do anything foolish to Granddaddy Ike, and he was a boy child at the time. I've seen these instances in newspapers and documents, court transcripts were they could Stand Tall or Be Killed.
I Honor my Ancestors for all they had to Endure. For all the humiliting and bent back obstacle they went through. I'm Overjoyed for all they Overcame. For my Freedom today......
Ben's Grandfather like so many other Persons of Color during Slavery have so much to be Proud of. We are a Strong People! Thank you to Ben's 3rd Great Granddaddy Peter G. Morgan!
Thank You Grandaddy Ike Ivery!
Her Grandfather, Joshua Pinckney Masters born in 1910 Georgia had a interesting event. He was in a position only considered available to white men only. He was a Distiller at a plant for Rosin. What my Dad would call turpentine. It was the removal of the sap from pine trees. I won't look at a Pine tree the same.
They are all over Georgia and Alabama, I saw them on my recent trip down home.
He was killed in a explosion that was done on purpose out of jealousy. The white men didn't think a Black should be the boss of them. So they set the vent up for explosion. He was just 25 years old. Kandi reminisced on the what the potential for his life could of been had he lived.
|Florida Resin Distillery|
So her Grandmother moved on with her children. The story died never to be told until tonight by Dr. Gates on what really happened?
I see this happen in my own personal research when tragic things happen, everyone is hush-hush about it. So we lose that part of our history. That branch is lost forever until someone in the family like me who has a love for genealogy, picks it up, starts putting history to the faces and names we know and find.
I have a Uncle Aberdeen Walker Miles. He ran away from Union Springs, Alabama, being accused of murder, he was never to be found. His brother Roy Walker Miles was electrocuted in May of 1929 for the offense. I often wonder if they are relatives in my DNA that they don't know their Ancestor changed his name, started a new life and they are the product of that. We don't know why we are connected? They haven't been told the story on him or simply don't know.
Kandi's DNA showed she was 73%SSA and 24%Euro. She was Nigerian with Igbo. She didn't consider herself African American. She always grew up with a sense of "I'm Black" a Black Woman! She was just that, and proud of it! Most of us or people try to categorize us. She never felt to be put in any box. She said, she didn't feel any connection with the Motherland.
After DNA she said she felt the connection now of belonging to something other than her Self! That was commending to me. She considered the research Dr. Gates did for her was Affirming and Grounding. I had a sense in the beginning she wasn't interested. Knowing her roots didn't seem to bother her. She didn't really know her family history. Afterwards; I was glad she showed appreciation for the facts and the work. Knowing where one comes from is a MUST. I don't know how you navigate in Life not knowing?
Ben had many stories on his Mother Christopher Ann Boldt. Dr. Gates found his Grandfather Almon Bruce French, who was a Spiritualist. I had to look that up. He was fond of his name and wish that he had a son he could grant that name to him. I giggled. He went around from town to town. Helping grieving Widows and children deal with the lost of their loved one during the Civil War. In today's world we would call that a psychic.
Ben Affleck is best friends with Matt Damon and I found it heartwarming they found out they were 10th Cousins, 1 once removed.
I was more interested in his Revolutionary War Patriot Jesse Stanley!
Jesse Stanley was from Goshen, Connecticut. This made me want to know more personal things about my own Patriot, My 5th Great Grandfather Nicolaus Barrick (1761-1844),from Pa.
Use the Twitter #FindingYourRoots on Tuesdays!
Great Episode! I enjoyed immensely.
Please watch the Episode at your convenience. I left so many things out for you all not to get to bored with my "Storytelling". Ben Jealous's Ancestors had so many footprints here in this Country you will definitely have to watch to get the whole picture. I could go on and on about his Roots!
See Ya Next Week, as we Talk Food!
Best Regards, True!