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My Alabama Shaw Family on My Father’s Side From 1861-2014

Mr. Mitchell lived in Royal Oak Manor in Northwest Atlanta told me his grandfather was another one of my great grandmother Julie’s peers

Posted Aug 2, 2016

Annie Shaw-Barnes, Ph.D.
Author and Speaker
Cultural Anthropologist
Family Specialist
Family Education Specialist
Spousal Abuse Specialist
Christian Church Specialist
Racism Specialist

Hi everyone,

Mr. Mitchell told me about one of his slave relatives who was my great grandmother's peer.

Mr. Mitchell’s grandfather on his father’s side was taught, by his white master, to read and write and how to manage the master’s business because he (the master) did not have much confidence in white overseers. His grandfather’s duties, as overseer on the 100 acre plantation, included “weighing up” the cotton and managing other blacks on the plantation. He was given power to strap other blacks, although he rarely did. The white master and his sons fathered 60 of the children on the plantation. It was Mr. Mitchell’s grandfather’s duty to repair the shoes for all of his white master’s children and grandchildren, along with the shoes of the remaining plantation workers.

When the white master died, he willed Mr. Mitchell’s grandfather the plantation, but he did not accept it because he wanted to leave the plantation and experience, again, the city life to which he had been exposed, when he travelled with his white master to Memphis and New Orleans. So, he, a mulatto, went from sharecropping to city life, the homes of the Blues. I like the blues, too, but I wouldn’t have given up a life, where I could be sure of prospering, for a jazzy life, but I am happy he chose what he wanted.

There is so much more in this antebellum story. Fortunately, some whites trust blacks more than they trust whites to handle their business, and they are right to do that because blacks treat them better than they treat black people. For example, two of us women who were living in an upper scale apartment complex in Norfolk, Virginia, shared the same cleaning woman, and my white neighbor only missed an old worn towel that she didn’t want, but the housecleaning woman took half of my best set of sheets, money out of my wallet, though I watched my pocket book closely, and scattered my evening handbags around on the shelf in my walk-in closet, seemingly, to make me forget one or more of them and allow her to take it. On a larger level, when white men came from rural Georgia to Atlanta, they hailed black cabs, got in, handed the driver a ward of money, and the driver drove him to a black woman’s house for playtime. During this time, blacks could not ride in taxi cabs driven by whites, but it was okay, vice versa. I know, for sure, black women work better for white women and white men than for black women because they don’t think enough of themselves to love the people with their skin color because they think more of white skin color than black skin color. That is a disaster. Parents need to teach their children, indelibly, to love black skin color just as much as white skin color. Also, teach them so much love for everyone, until they respect and do right by all people. By the way, if you have dark complexioned children, teach them to love themselves and make them the most beautiful people in the world. I have seen some of these beautiful black girls and women and rejoiced. It’s time for every black American to see the shade of their skin color pretty and know, for sure, their inner qualities are who they are and can make themselves as pretty as they want. Yes, pretty. I had a public school teacher who, at first glance was the ugliest dark complexion and featured woman I had ever seen. As soon as I began interacting with her, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, and her beauty is memorable to me. Beloved, your beauty comes from within. Also, Mr. Mitchell’s grandfather is a classic example of so many other matters about slavery. It shows that the white master and his sons fathered 60 children birthed by Negro women slaves on his small plantation. Surely, after they become of age, he could sell them on the auction block. Slave masters taught black women and black men the practice of illegitimacy.

Nevertheless, let us stop that dastard practice and live good and free lives, until we are ready to get married and have a family. The sex practice between white men and black men was often beneficial, until the 1950s, with interesting results. Sometime, after slavery and the Great Depression, some white men contributed money to the children they fathered by black women and even sent those light complexioned children to college, before many dark complexion students’ families were able to send them to college, and they were the first college queens in black colleges. It took a long time for students at black colleges to elect a dark complexion student as college queen to reign at Homecoming. Rural areas in Georgia and the small town of Ahoskie, North Carolina were testimonies to white men sending their black children to college and leaving large land acreage and money in their wills, which surviving family members of the white men, gave to his Negro children, and they are now the most prosperous. Now, depending on where they lived, the acreage varied, for example, in rural areas, they sometimes left them 50 or more areas and, in town, they left them prized area, where they and their offspring built thriving businesses. Now, all white men were not that way.

For certain, today, the greatest point in this story is for blacks to be highly favored by whites. Like it or not, that’s a good thing to achieve. It is always good to have a good white man and a good white woman on your side who have the ability to help you, like Mr. Mitchell’s white master.

Grandmother Julie, is showing through her peers, that, from plantation to plantation, slave life varied.

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