Saturday, March 03, 2007

Will Obama Apologize for Slavery?

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Many people know that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas.

But an intriguing sliver of his family history has received almost no attention until now: It appears that forebears of his white mother owned slaves, according to genealogical research and census records.

Obama has only one PC choice - he must apologize for slavery.

The records could add a new dimension to questions by some who have asked whether Obama - who was raised in East Asia and Hawaii and educated at Columbia and Harvard - is attuned to the struggles of American blacks descended from West African slaves.

"The twist is very interesting," said Ronald Walters, a political scientist who is director of the African-American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park. "It deepens his connection with the experience of slavery, even if it deepens it on a different side of the equation."


It was unclear last night whether Obama was aware of any slave-holding ancestors, but he makes no mention of them in his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.

Perhaps reparations should be considered as well.

1 comment:

blair said...

It is not surprising that Obama has slave owners in his family tree. Virtually all Americans, regardless of their race or ethnicity, have ancestors who owned slaves. Many African Americans who researched their family trees would be shocked to discover that have black as well as white ancestors who were slave owners. In the United States, free blacks as well as whites owned slaves (one of the South’s biggest slave owner was a freed black man notorious for his harsh treatment of his slaves). The percentage of free blacks who owned slaves was small, as was the percentages of whites who owned slaves, but the intricacies of the genetic pool guarantee that virtually everyone is related to them. African Americans who traced their heritage back to Africa would discover that virtually all their African ancestors were involved in the slave traded. The African tribes ran the “supply side” of the Atlantic slave trade. The ancestors of Hispanic Americans owned both black and Indian slaves. American Indian tribes practiced slavery both before and after the European discovery of America. (The Cherokee Nation, for example, voted overwhelmingly yesterday (3 March 07) to revoke the tribal citizenship of about 2,800 blacks who are descendants of Cherokee slaves.

It makes no diference which side of the Mason-Dixie line you were born in. Slavery was practiced in all the Northern states prior to the American Civil War and was still being practiced in many of the Northern states during the Civil War. That's why Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation applied only to states that had rebelled against the Union.