Monday, October 13, 2014

AC360: Anderson Cooper traces his southern roots on his dad's site: a lot of southern "Whites" might find out they are "black" with enough DNA comparison to slaves


On Tuesday night, Anderson Cooper traced his own roots (“Our Journeys Home”) on his AC360 program, for about a half hour. The basic link is here
   
His mother’s side is the Vanderbilt side, but he was more interested in the Cooper side, his father (Wyatt Emory Cooper), who was an actor and screenwriter, who grew up along the Mississippi-Alabama border (which he visits) and then lived in New Orleans, where Anderson found his dad’s report card in a school that had been damaged in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.  On the Cooper side, Anderson had ancestors who had fought for the Confederacy during the War Between the States, and at least one major Union General.  Even though his southern ancestors were not rich, at least one had owned slaves.  Anderson is going to allow some DNA testing of his own blood to be compared to the slaves, which could show that he has small fraction of slave blood.  More people would turn up this finding that they realize.  Imagine how this technology could have affected the South in the 1960s, during segregation, when having even one black ancestor made one “black”. 
  
Anderson said, you don’t get to choose the family you’re born into, but you should get to choose how you live your own life. That would not have been as easy for him had been born a century earlier.   

PBS has a map of Anderson Cooper's family tree here.

Wyatt Emory Cooper's book is "Families: A Memoir and a Celebration", 1975, Harper Collins, link here.
   
Picture: near Natchez Trace Parkway in NE Mississippi near Tupelo;  my visit in May 2014.  

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