So many things are kept secret and locked away for generations. I’ve become more interested in my family history and I’ve become curious to find what my place in society is…where has history led me and why am I where I am? Being African-American can make it very difficult to trace my roots beyond a certain generation. I pretty much can trace back to my great grandparents generation and then after that, it’s as if all history has been erased or…avoided. It’s worth noting that before my great grandparents generation, I am on the brink of slavery. Meaning, that my paternal Great Grandmother was the daughter of slaves…the first free-born Black in the family. I don’t know much about her, except that something happened to her mother. Something terrible and my great grandmother was urged to pass for white. My Great Uncle told me that someone in my family was sold away to where we currently live (in the upper south) from North Carolina. Does this mean, half of my family could still be back in North Carolina?
These are all the pieces of history that go beyond the third generation that precedes my own. I feel like my family is filled with secrets. Why would my great grandparents or my second great grandparents keep such painful secrets to themselves? The only thing I can think of is they didn’t want their children or grandchildren to become bitter…they wanted to have better for them. I look back to my days of childhood where I lived in oblivion, I truly thought history was irrelevant…but it was strange that history caught up with me one day. You can’t help but look in the mirror and wonder how you got here. When you are refused a job based on your skin color…history catches up with you and you wonder what am I truly doing here. How could I have been brought into a place where my very existence is such a contentious issue?
I guess all I can do is focus on what I do know about my grandparents and parents…their accomplishments. I know my Grandfather worked hard to earn an education to give my mother a better life and my mother passed her desire for education onto her children. I know faith in God was very strong througout generations in my family. I have faith in God, I believe that is ultimately what held us together when we had nothing else. I guess there are always going to be secrets. But…I can’t but wonder.
Do you ever feel this way, like there is just a blank in your family tree beyond a certain point?
If this post seems fragmented it’s because I don’t fully understand my family history and beyond a certain point, it is just fragments.