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May 2021

The Need For Real Facts About African American Research

            While doing research about my ancestry, I had the opportunity to read a comment as it pertained to the idea of someone possessing ownership of another human being. In a sense, this is a tragedy and I cringe each time I read anything pertaining to slavery. On one hand I do not wish to be reminded of such horrible acts but especially today, the truth must be brought forth. I want my story to be told. My ancestors sacrificed too much for us to simply falsify or gloss over the events in history.  I appreciate the wisdom of those who read this historical accounting and empathize with the Africans who were brought here against their will and placed in servitude at the will of others. I do not condone this treatment of my ancestors.

            Allow me to explain. I am African American, but my ancestors were plantation owners.  Since beginning this research, I have been both surprised and shocked. I have been contacted by and reached out to many who are DNA matches. Recently a cousin contacted me to learn more about our connection. Once I explained the relationship to her, having proof with DNA she still refused to see and understand.

            It is those people whose eyes must be opened. I wanted nothing from her, and she had no reason to be frightened of me. Personally, I know that I am a lot better off than she is because much like my grandfather, I will not denigrate those less fortunate than myself to get ahead in life. My grandfather taught us the true meaning of the word independence. He was a self-made man. Much like his grandfather, he too was a Minister of the Gospel, a Musician, a Pastor and Civic Leader. He was well respected by people of varying races, creeds and colors.

            Had I not continued to research my family history I would not have known the empathy that my ancestors, who did not look like me possessed during slavery. I would not have read about the efforts made by my ancestors, to right the wrong of the masses. My ancestors risked death by penning papers declaring the shame and grief they felt for human beings treated in such a degrading manner. They demanded that those in authority allow Africans to return to their homeland and live as free men and women, kings and queens. I would not recognize the contribution of a tenacious educator who chose to stand with coworkers and demand that they be recognized as one body instead of two separate entities. My ancestors were not all great humanitarians but, many were persons with a conscious and that lets me know that they cared.


            Years ago, as I gazed upon the faces of those marching beside me, willing to take a stand against hatred and unjust treatment; I was proud that the blood of those who tried yet failed had survived the detestation and was willing to continue the struggle. Today as I see the young and old, Black and White standing together fighting injustice, I am glad that not only the blood of my ancestors but of others whose wish for equality and the belief that all men are created equal has survived.

Yvonne Richard-Sanchez

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