I pass easily for White, but then again why shouldn’t I? I am not half Black, nor 1/4th Black, nor 1/8th, or 1/16th, but I am 1/32nd Black as inherited from my maternal 3rd great grandmother Amanda Comee who was an enslaved African in Louisville, Kentucky in 1852 when she gave birth to my great-great grandfather Charles Gaylord, Jr. fathered by her owner Charles Gaylord Sr.
My first cousin 2x removed had the privilege of knowing her great-great grandmother, who was my mother’s mother. When I say privilege I really mean it because I sure wish I could have known my great-great grandmother and grandfather, but they were already long gone by several decades by the time I was born. I just find the thought of it all amazing to imagine that I could have know my great-great grandfather was was legally born an enslaved African.
The child of a slave and my 3rd great grandfather Charles Gaylord was born looking White enough that he was raised as his son. Here’s a photo of my great-great grandpa not long before his death at age 45. He was a farmer. Relatives say his skin was much lighter when he was born and that was a reason why my great-great-great grandfather took him and raised him as his son. My 1st cousin Eddie McCrocklin looks so much like him.
After his death his wife, my Scottish maternal great-great grandmother (Hello Clan Morrison!) Susannah Mary Morrison was left almost penniless and lived out the remainder of her days on a shanty boat at the mouth of the Little Cypress Creek, in Little Cypress, Kentucky near Paducah where one of her son’s, Cash Gaylord, lived. Grandma Gaylord died from malaria. This is her photo:
How my great-great grandmother Gaylord must have suffered in a post-slavery America with a husband who obviously was part Negro (sic). All of their children were listed as Black in the census entries for the family decade after decade. My great grandmother Emma Rachel Horstmann’s children somehow escaped being entered in the census as Black which was a bit of a miracle considering the One-Drop Rule that still considered her, my grandmother, and other siblings to be Negro even though my great grandmother was 1/4th and my grandmother was 1/8th. Even my mother was 1/16 and still considered Negro by the One-Drop Rule that my home State of Kentucky upheld. As late as the 1910-11 school year, Pike County Kentucky school trustee Edmond Belcher notified the guardian of Troy and Loucreta Mullins that the children could not attend the school for Whites because the Mullins children were “Colored.” The guardian sued Belcher. The trial judge of the Pike County Circuit Court found that the children had at least 1/16 Negro blood, wherefore considered Colored, and would not be allowed to attend the school for White children. The children’s guardian filed an appeal. The Court of Appeal of Kentucky concluded that Negro and White children were never meant to be educated in the same school, and moral and mental chaos were likely to occur if that were to change. And, any traceable amount of Negro blood in an individual required that the person be considered “Colored.” The injunction was denied and the judgment of the Pike County Circuit Court was affirmed.
The census taker’s were always members of the community who would talk and make sure those who looked White were still persecuted as Black. I haven’t found a census where my Grandmother and Mother were documented to be Black.
My great grandmother didn’t look very Black even though she had 1/4th Negro blood.
My grandmother didn’t look too Black at 1/8th either.
My mother is considered “Colored” by the One-Drop Rule with 1/16th Negro blood.
I have a 3rd cousin named Mattie Davis who looks very Black because her mother, my 2nd cousin became pregnant by a Black man. My cousin Mattie is an angry young woman and rightfully so. My cousin gave her up for adoption because she came out looking Black. My niece and I found Mattie on Ancestry.com and she said some rather rude things to me because she’s so sensitive about her level of Blackness and doesn’t treat her bio family who is less Black than her very nice. She has a lot of anger about being adopted out and I can’t help that. She does look like my cousin.
I imagine my mother knew about her Black ancestry, but never spoke a word to me about it and my grandmother never wanted to talk about her mother’s people.
My mother is 1/16 Negro blood and that makes my Negro blood content 1/32nd. I wonder if the racists would still consider me “Colored” under the One-Drop Rule? I guess I’d find out if it was still the early 1900’s.
My great-great grandpa Gaylord was legally born into slavery, but my 3rd great grandpa had a heart and embraced him as his son so he was what they called a “free Mulatto” back then.
I learned that my great grandma and grandpa were burned out of their cabin by racists when my grandmother was a girl. My grandmother told me that afterwards the family lived in a tent along the Ohio river that had a heating stove in it and it was cozy. She never spoke more about other places she lived growing up. After my grandmother married, grandpa Odes Hall her and their kids lived on the Buttorf Farm down Goshen Lane. My mother showed me the barn next to the house where she used to play as a girl and the tree along Goshen Lane where she take off and hide her shoes when she would walk up to the Goshen Store. I never talked to her and asked her if she grew up with racism. My family’s “dark” secret was not know to me while growing up and I only found out about my families Black ancestry when I grew close to my great aunt Irene while living in Indianapolis, Indian and going to church with her family. She filled me in a lot on how her mother and the family suffered from racists.
So, to close…do I believe and support the idea that Black lives matter? Yes, my Black family that I love matters. All Black lives matter as well as all the lives of all God’s children matter. As far as the Marxist lead organization Black Lives Matter, …..I cannot endorse an organization who’s leaders want to destroy American democracy and exchange it for socialistic Communism.