26 February 2007

News? or Not?

Strom Thurmond's family used to own slaves. Absolutely shocking. I am completely floored and taken aback by the fact that a Southern family before the Civil War era owned slaves. Stop the presses (oh, they already did that). Rewrite the history books (oh wait..that's another story). This slave-owning thing is supposed to be a surprise? According to CNN it is. Any historian or genealogist with a modicum of experience in Southern research should great the revelation with a yawn. Many Southern families with a plantation or more than a subsistence level farming operation in the antebellum era owned slaves. Even my run of the mill families in Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky owned slaves before the Civil War and they certainly were not large plantation owners. While it is nothing to brag about....it should come as no great surprise either.

And one of Thurmond's shirttail relatives owned one of Sharpton's ancestors for a while? An interesting coincidence perhaps, but certainly not worthy of all the hoopla that has been made of it.

Julia Thurmond Sharpton was Strom Thurmond's first cousin twice removed. I have lots of first cousins twice removed. A first cousin twice removed would be a first cousin of my grandparent. I at least a hundred of those, many I never ever met.

Should we be surprised that the media are shocked about slave ownership and the Sharpton-Thurmond connection? Probably not. After all, the media have been focused on:
  • Brittany's shaved head.
  • Anna Nicole's decadent life and death.
  • the endless parade of anexoric actresses and models.

My great-great-parents were husband and wife and step-brother and step-sister. I'm still waiting for the news crew ;-)