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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Anthony Foxx's African Revelation! OMG! He's Black!

It seems Charlotte, NC Mayor Anthony Foxx recently discovered that he's Black!

What a Revelation!

Since this man was elected last Fall he has done absolutely NOTHING for
Charlotte's Black Community, even though most of this region's Black Voters cast
their ballots for him.

Now that Mayor Foxx learned he has "African Roots", perhaps this will motivate him to begin helping Charlotte's Black Community.

I'm just saying. Peace

Anthony Foxx Learns His African Roots!

For years, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx could trace his ancestors no further than a mid-19th century slave auction in Moore County.

Until Thursday night.

That's when he learned that a DNA test reveals he's descended from the Fulani people of northern Nigeria, a tribe of nomads, herdsmen and warriors almost 6,000 miles away.

"It's pretty powerful," Foxx said after a presentation of the findings at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture. "It opens a new understanding that I didn't have before."

The disclosure came courtesy of African Ancestry, a company that specializes in genetic genealogy of black Americans.

The company helped Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates trace the African roots of celebrities such as TV host Oprah Winfrey, comedian Chris Rock, poet Maya Angelou, singer Tina Turner and actor Morgan Freeman. Each was featured in Gates' "African American Lives" specials on PBS.

African Ancestry traced Foxx's roots as part of its "We Are Africa" road tour, designed to promote its DNA-based genealogy.

Popularized by 'Roots'

For many African-Americans, family history hits a dead end in the 1800s. Public records are sketchy, slave roots often impossible to trace.

Foxx's family knew that his great-great grandmother was a slave named Betsy Elizabeth Bean. Lore has it that she arrived in Charleston from Africa as a young girl. She was eventually sold at auction in the Moore County town of Carthage.

"We're the only group in this country that can't point to a country of origin," said Gina Paige, president and co-founder of African Ancestry. "Psychologically knowing where you're from is a critical component to your identity. As African-Americans, we have a void."

Black genealogy was popularized by author Alex Haley's 1976 publication of "Roots." The best-selling book and subsequent mini-series traced his ancestry to a village in the modern-day West African country of Gambia.

The basis of his research almost four decades ago lay largely in piecing together stories passed down in his family.

"Today we can do that with DNA tests that are truly amazing," said Bill Ferris, the senior associate director of The Center for the Study of the American South at UNC Chapel Hill and a friend of the late author.

"Even Alex could not have imagined the dramatic changes that we've witnessed. His connection, as was the case in most black families, was in the oral tradition and the stories passed down from generation to generation. In Alex's case, it was his aunts who would gather at family reunions and talk about Kunta Kinte and Chicken George."

DNA Research

Using a series of flip charts, Paige outlined the genetic process to an audience of about 200 at the Gantt Center. She explained how her researchers traced Foxx's maternal lineage through his mother's mitochondrial DNA.

Like most African-Americans, many of those in the Carolinas trace their ancestry to West and Central Africa. Many came through the port of Charleston.

Deborah Wright, an archivist with Avery Research Center, an archive and museum in Charleston devoted to black history, said many slaves in the S.C. Lowcountry came from West African rice-growing areas in what are now Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Ferris, a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, said DNA research has revolutionized genealogy.

"It's like the birth of the Internet where we have instant access to all knowledge," he said in a phone interview. "It's kind of dazzling and changes all the basic understanding of history and genealogy...

"The ability to trace family history and ancestry from generation to generation is much more accessible to Americans than it ever was before, especially to black families."

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Sources:, McClatchy Newspapers, WCNC, Google Maps

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