I was raised in northern, Kentucky (Boone County). For the most part in our county the only people of color were my relatives - and it was commonly known that the Sleet family (my mother's family) were descended from a "social laison" between a slave master and black woman. The slave master stood by his act and recognized his son and I suppose set the tone for the community as we were truly "part" of the community. You from your experience can only
imagine what this "approval" afforded the family bank loans for farming family members, access to local doctors, dentist (insteady or having to travel 30+ miles into Covington). We did have to ride in the back of the bus, could not go to the local movie house.
We were raised knowing of our mixed racial background from early childhood.
Picture a drastic move in my teen years from rural south to trendy southern California. Upon the heels of this move comes a era of civil rights demonstrations, black nationalism spanning intergration to black separatism - non violence from Dr. King to the rants of Huey P. Newton.
Suprisingly it was the knowledge of having mixed heritage and the experience of there having been acceptance in spite of inequities that gave me perspective throughout the late 60's, 70's and 80's. Realizing that I was a composite of all that was before me which anchored me to humanity and I realize even today has spawned so much of my curiosity about our families of American.
What I have found absolutely remarkable is that these families participated so fully in American history - and were a intregal part of a history.
Now because of men like you who set out years ago to research these families that we are able to see more clearly who these people were and their uniqueness.
Unfortunately, the era dictated, as it does in any time, what our forebearers could or could not do so many folks like what you shared in regards to your father's visits home and failure to disclose essential details were dictated by an attempt to afford a better opportunity for his children. Obviously he held ties to family as a matter of
I've known this to be a fact among my mothers family where fairer complected folks got jobs in places where "colored folks" could not be served restaurants, private hosptals, banks, but these familly members came to reunions and corresponded with loved ones.