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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: William Goyens, mulatto freeman NC-TX

I was very interested in your comment below.
You accuse family members of "reconstructing our history" so that it does not reflect any African American influences. I do not know how you can make such an assumption. On the contrary, we cannot claim anything that we do not have proof of. As a fifth generation great grand-niece of William Goyens, Jr of Nacogdoches, I have gone where other biographers of William Goyens have not gone yet -- to Moore County North Carolina. I have tramped through graveyards in the woods, searched obscure slave records for North and South Carolina and read accounts of Goyens' sister, Leah who was always referred to as a Croatan Indian in vital records. After tracing his/my lineage for fifteen years and going back to the Colonial period in American History, I still have not found one African American ancestor -- not that I would try to cover it if I did, because African American is a proud and beautiful ethnicity that I would be proud to claim if I so deserved. So it is not a matter of "reconstructing" our family histories as you assume -- it is a matter of not finding the documents and the history that support the allegations that he was truly African American. Goyens lived in a period of time where if you were a person of color - you were considered African American. The prevailing attitude was either a person was White or they were something less. So, I pose to you, If you see a dark skinned person, do you immediately categorize that person as being from African American ethnicity without taking a good look at the place, the family, the records, the environment or the other facts about the person?

In addition, I met with the African American community in Nacogdoches about 15 years ago. They used to hold a remembrance ceremony for Goyens once a year as a tribute to him, before the marker was moved from the cow pasture that he is buried in and the grave was lost to history. I attended one of the meetings where one of the African American spokeswomen stated that they always knew Goyens was not African American, but he was a man of color. And he did rise above the prejudices and the caste system of the Deep South. And that is why he is significant in History.

I would suggest you take a field trip to Nacogdoches Texas and to Moore County North Carolina. Do a little more research before you throw out such hasty allegations against family members who are just trying to sort out the truth behind all of the misrepresentations about Goyens.

You wrote:
"Be that as it may - I have no problem understanding that those people who currently live as white, or have opted to reconstruct their ethnicity to exclude those forebears who were African-ancestored make those choices - to each his own. To have an African ancestor doesn't make someone an African-American. But to deny history, to me is rather sad, and only highlights the continuance of racialist attitudes in the present."

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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