Thursday, March 01, 2007


Sharpton's Letter is a Must-Read!!

My link to Strom Thurmond - Los Angeles Times: "My great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton Sr., and his family were owned by a white woman named Julia Ann Thurmond shortly before the Civil War. They lived in, of all places, Liberty, Fla. Before that, they were the property of the white slave owner Alexander Sharpton of South Carolina. Sharpton's son, Jefferson, had married Miss Thurmond, and died in debt, so Sharpton sent my great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, and his family to Liberty in 1861 to work off the debts. Julia Thurmond Sharpton inherited my great-grandfather. Julia Thurmond's grandfather was also Strom Thurmond's great-grandfather.
When Coleman Sharpton finally shook off the chains of slavery, he became a turpentine dipper — work so awful that, when you finished a day's work, you had to wash yourself in gasoline to get the stickiness off your body. But the grim reality of my ancestry, and the ancestry of millions of African Americans, is that I am sure even the torturous job of turpentine dipping gave my great-grandfather joy because he was finally free and recognized as a man, no longer the property of someone else."

He has written a piece to remind us of our American ancestry. There is little doubt but that I am a descendant of owners. I'd like to think that I also have a progressive back there somewhere that aided in getting slaves to the North. I may never know that, but I have daydreamed of it since I was little. My Dad said something this morning that was brilliant (while maybe said before)... that whites knew the potential of their slaves. That is why they denied them education. I am sure some owners denied education out of a belief that the slaves were incapable of learning, but I think as time went on, there was a fear of their potential. We know now that the fear they had was justified. Every American, despite color, can be educated and show the same amount of potential that turns into success as white folk. We see amazing leaders, brilliant minds, role models, and heroes from this race that has come from adversity to, in many ways, thumb their noses at my ancestors. I stand with them and thumb my nose too.

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