AfriGeneas Writers Forum
Re: "Where No Daddy Is Known"
In Response To: "Where No Daddy Is Known" ()
I want to say I really enjoyed reading your story. I'm sorry I can't help you but have you considered that this man could have possibly given your grandmother a false name, false information about himself or partial name? Or that he was not a soldier or teacher but maybe just someone from town? Your great aunt could have been given false informnation over the years.
I'm sensing this is a very sensitive topic and you have indicated so about your father. It may not be so much that he was white; after all most of us have white ancestry and like your family, my maternal white ancestors were in contact with my mother and her siblings growing up. It is what it is. There was an acknowledgment and therefore minimal shame. The fact that your grandmother was left alone so to speak to be shamed and ridiculed by the community must have been very painful for her, and therefore passed onto her son.
I have a friend, whose maternal grandmother lived with the family. My friend's grandmother was a dark-skinned woman with Negroid features, if you will and her mother was a very fair-complexioned woman with long wavy hair as my friend and her sisters are. As a child I noted the differences in appearance but didn't question it, as you said, we all have relatives ranging in various shades. It wasn't until high school that it came out that my friend's biological grandfather was white and her mother was bi-racial. There was shame and not something that was discussed. I never knew if the relationship was consenual or forced but is it really ever when a young black woman is taken advantage of because of her race and she is in a position of service. They were in Texas.
Lately, I have been reading about "paramour rights", a term made famous by Zora Neal Hurston. You no doubt have heard of it.
When another friend told me her aunt killed herself as a young woman in North Carolina (in 1940s) because of the continued unwanted sexual violation by a white man, I was naive enough to believe that a black woman did not have to consent to sexual intercourse; we were no longer in slavery. I shook my head when she said her grandfather could do nothing; he would have been killed. I was thinking of the stories of my family in Arkansas and how my grandfather stood up to white people and he wouldn't allow my grandmother or his daughters to work in white homes. I thought of this as a man protecting his family and then I heard of paramour rights. I realized that the sexual exploitation of black women was more prevalent in different parts of the south, even within states.
I said all this to say, though your father was loved, the circumstances of his birth might have not been something that anyone wants to hash over. Yes, there were a lot of illegitimate births but everyone handles it differently. I do hope you find the answers but is is possible this part of your history might remain blank.
Wish you the best
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