Wire services carried an article a few days ago describing the relationship of the families of segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Now another politician has been linked to slavery in a manner that may surprise all. It seems that Barack Obama's ancestors owned slaves.
Mr. Obama's immediate ancestry is well known. His father is a black man from Kenya, and his mother is a white woman from Kansas. William Addams Reitwiesner, who works at the Library of Congress and practices genealogy in his spare time, spent time researching Obama's ancestry and found that his mother's family owned slaves, according to census records.
According to the research, one of Obama's great-great-great-great grandfathers, George Washington Overall, owned two slaves who were recorded in the 1850 Census in Nelson County, Kentucky. The same records show that one of Obama's great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers, Mary Duvall, also owned two slaves.
You can read more in the Chicago Tribune at http://tinyurl.com/3d7rbb.
While this is an interesting story because of the other recent news articles, I suspect this is not a rare occurrence. If every American traced his or her ancestry, many of us would find similar stories in our family trees.
It reminds me of a quote from Helen Keller: "There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors and no slave who has not had a king among his."