If you have not watched the series please do. There are six parts, so far you can view the first two by going to the PBS website. I believe series like these are critical for the American public. I applaud PBS and Dr. Henry Louis Gates for bringing it forward. I agree there are stories that need to be told and I believe that Angela Walton-Raji (http://myancestorsname.blogspot.com/2013/10/looking-at-many-rivers-to-cross.html) and others, such as George Geder (https://medium.com/on-telling-a-story/743e93a6ca1d) Nicka Smith (http://www.whoisnickasmith.com/genealogy/the-african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross-episode-two-tie-deep-south-to-up-south/) are doing it with their blogs. As you all know I am not a blogger, but I am known to read several, I mean several, at least one or two per day. Regarding the topic of Many Rivers to Cross (PBS, Dr. Henry Louis Gates) I struggled with one of the situations presented in part 2. The part where Dr. Gates was asking the African’s if anyone benefited from the slave trade. My personal thought, wow, what a question, there are people today in 2013 still benefiting from slavery. But it is really best for me to watch the program again to be clear one what I heard and make sure I understand. But anyway I heard the gentleman say, yes he did and so did others. I am sure this is a debatable topic, which I am not willing to jump in (at this time) but wanted to share my thoughts. I do not think it is far fetched that some African chief’s participated with known knowledge that they sold people to the slave traders. They received something for doing something. I am not going to sit here and think that some didn’t profit from the horrible aspects of selling humans and they didn’t know it. The power of the mighty dollar and material things has traditionally won out or simply it could be a case of the needs of the many out weighed the needs of the few. No matter what, I give no passes on anyone involved in the business of selling human beings back then or now. I also feel there were some that gained something but only thought they were sending some people off to just be laborers temporary and not live the life of slaves and also felt that some would return home (thinking of the door of no return). What comes to mind is in the first show of Roots, the young men of the village were told to watch out for the whites, etc. That says to me, at least in the Roots series the chief’s knew. I also feel that there is always a shock when folks find out there were Native Americans and Black American slave owners. I believe there are some circumstances that Native American and Black American had slaves. Slavery was all about economics with no regard to one being human. Is it worth a debate? No, not in my book, it does not matter who had who just the fact that folks of whatever God they worshipped felt they had the right. Slave traders and others came into villages all over the world carrying a bible in one hand and a gun in another (again, no one, I mean no one gets a pass from me). I might be ready once I get over that, but so far it has not happened over the last 30 yrs. The topic of people of color owning African American slaves is interesting as I think of James Roper of Jefferson County, Virginia.
Three of my great great grandmother’s (Mary Catherine (Goens/Goings) Marsh) siblings married Roper siblings in Jefferson County, Virginia.
On the Roper side James Roper (b. 1783-1867) was a mulatto, the “only” child of Nicholas Roper from Suffolk England and one of his slaves. James inherited his father’s land, actually his father gave James a lease on his property for 99 years, since it was illegal for slaves to own land in Virginia. Now check this out; James Roper was my paternal grandfather of husband of 2nd great grandaunt that’s a mouth full. Nicholas also gave his son James his freedom in Dec of 1793.
Now James Douglas did own slaves and they were not his family. One of his slaves was a runaway who was caught and James had him killed. This mulatto child in my opinion was a blessed child of privilege. He became the largest landowner in Jefferson County, Virginia and to my knowledge a Roper today is the largest property owner in Jefferson County. You can read more about James Roper at the website: http://nicholasroper.com/index.html distance relatives; Jacqueline Milburn and Judy Meade built an awesome website to display the life of James’s father Nicholas Roper. Enjoy the slideshow.
familytreegirl, 31 October 2013