For Father’s Day I Denounce My White Confederate Heritage

I am disgusted by the Confederate flag, and by those white people who defend its display as “honoring their heritage.” I say this as a white native of the South, with deep Southern roots. I was born in Texas (slave state) to a mother from North Carolina (slave state) and a father from Georgia (slave state). I was raised below the Mason-Dixon line in Maryland (slave state).

The year I was born (1969), my father taught at an all-white private high school in Houston. The Civil Rights era raged. When the headmaster refused to desegregate the school, my father was part of a faculty exodus. My folks found a Maryland school that did not discriminate, and went to teach there. They raised me to believe in equality. But looking back through the history of the country, the full story of my family and race is a terrible thing: the Richardsons owned slaves for generations, and I can document it.

My dad was a Civil War buff. When I was a child, he told me many things about it, including: 1) there were Richardsons on both sides of the war, and 2) the Southern, slave-owning Richardsons were angry when their slaves were freed. I must have been 11 or so, and I didn’t get it. It seemed to me the good guys had won, and that the end of slavery was an unalloyed good that should have brought cheer to all. He explained it in economic terms: Slaves were like money, he said. When the slaves were freed, the Richardsons lost everything. That was the first inkling I had that slavery built the nation. In particular, by the Civil War, it remained the economic engine of the South. Thanks to slavery, lots of white Southerners were rich, and they were ready to fight about it. A 2019 Cambridge study of the Confederate Army showed “wealthier households … fought at higher rates during the Civil War … (and) a particular form of wealth—slaveownership … is positively associated with fighting.”

Union General William Sherman knew this; it comes through in the orders for his famous “March to the Sea.” Sherman’s March was a brilliant strategy: his armies were to live off the land while destroying the South’s industrial war-making capacity. This not only disarmed and demoralized the Confederates, it let Sherman operate without supply lines that could be cut. It made his armies less vulnerable, and more nimble. The quote I am thinking of is from orders he gave his troops about scavenging supplies:

As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit, discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly.

The words are plain. The war was being fought over slavery; it was the rich Southerners who owned slaves, and who started the war to protect those assets. Therefore, it was rich Southerners who were most hostile to the Union forces. Therefore: take all their horses.

The Richardsons of the antebellum South were rich. Slave ownership among them appears more or less ubiquitous. I possess a genealogical record that documents this. I can document their slave ownership, and their anger toward General Sherman. The anger about losing the war, in some cases, lasted into the 20th Century.

In contrast to the modern-day idiots brandishing the Confederate flag to “protect their heritage,” I denounce this heritage. White supremacy is something to be ashamed of.

My Genealogical Record

The relevant historical document shakes me to my core the more I study it. I am just coming to terms with the breadth of slavery information within it. It is a hard-bound book of 150 pages titled, A Genealogical Record with Reminiscences of the Richardson and Buford Families, by Elizabeth Buford Richardson, written in 1906. It contains the entire history of my dad’s side of the family from the early 1700s to 1906.

Like all books, depending on one’s focus and attention, it is many books. It contains so much, of such varied historical interest, that I have struggled to assimilate it all. My family is lucky to have such a record.

For one, it may be sorted into adventures at sea. The first Richardson in America was Edward Richardson, an English sea captain who settled in Virginia around 1730. By the end of the book, two subsequent Richardsons have gone to sea (and died there).

The book may also be read as a record of high infant and child mortality, a constant feature of its 175-year span.

I have also been struck by how many Richardsons married their cousins: a lot!

One of the perversely enjoyable aspects of reading the book is how many grisly Richardson deaths are recorded. The two deaths at sea were each on ships that exploded: one from a boiler accident, the other from a powder magazine. One of my ancestors died in an early elevator accident. A couple of them were murdered. One died when a horse fell on him. One suffered a “severe groin injury” during the Revolutionary War which he died of only years later — the redcoats blew his junk off!

But reading it recently, I consolidated all the references to slavery and the Civil War. What I put together has shocked and troubled me. For one thing, I realize only now that my father lied to me. Because if there were Richardsons on both sides of the Civil War, that is not recorded in this very thorough account. Instead, what I find is an entirely Southern family whose many sons universally joined the Confederate Army. I can’t find a single Richardson above the Mason-Dixon line in 175 years. If there was a Richardson presence in the Union Army, it has been omitted. If they existed at all, they were vastly outnumbered by the Richardsons wearing gray, every one of whom is delineated in their sickening rush to defend their indefensible way of life.

Why would my father lie to me? He died when I was 14 so I can’t ask him. It’s possible I misheard him or that I am misremembering. It’s also possible that he was referring to Richardsons we are not related to; perhaps he assumed a relation. But I think he may have been trying to protect me from the stain of it all, the shame of it. We are descended from these literal losers. I don’t know. He was definitely trying to convey that the war split the country, brother-vs.-brother and that kind of thing. Maybe he felt the safest way to do that was with a little lie – a “white” lie.

Now look. I know for a fact that my dad romanticized Dixie. As a young man he wrote a letter to his father, which we have; the quote is something like: “I feel on some days that the South may be seen as an occupied country.” That is sheer bullshit of course. It betrays the fact that, even though he was a modern man who refused to work for a discriminatory institution, he still had some backward feelings of “Southern pride.” As a young man anyway, he felt some allegiance to a fantasy Dixieland where, if you could only drain away the slavery, you could pine away for that culture of genteel manners and 1800s fashion.

But you cannot drain away the slavery. An unvarnished reading of my family genealogy clearly reveals the Richardsons owned slaves for around 135 years. Probably as soon as Edward Richardson set foot in the American colonies in the 1730s, and all the way up to the emancipation in 1863. The fact of owning slaves is stated so explicitly in so many places that, even when it is not stated, it was clearly part of the background fabric of life.

Edward settled in Virginia. Did he have slaves? It doesn’t say. But he was a rich man in a southern state in the 1730s. In other words, he totally did.

His son, William Richardson, moved to Charleston, South Carolina and became a wealthy merchant. William married Ann Guignard in 1768; a few years later, they moved to rural Sumter County. It was there they built a mansion, and a large plantation at the confluence of two rivers where they farmed rice. Perhaps cotton too, like other plantations in that area. The plantation was named Bloom Hill, which over time became known as Bloomhill (both variants may be found in historical records). The buildings no longer stand but it is recorded in the South Carolina register of plantations.

The question is not whether they owned slaves, but how many. The plantation exceeded 4,000 acres; in other words, they owned a lot of slaves. William and Ann had several children and their descendants comprise the branches of my family tree. Rooted at Bloom Hill, the Richardson ancestral homeland is this plantation in the deep South that used slave labor. As far as I can tell, every branch of the Richardsons owned slaves from the 1730s to 1863.

Given these facts, and given what we know about slavery in general, the chances that I have black relatives is 100 percent. There is no evidence of this in the genealogical record, but there wouldn’t be, would there?

Excerpts

Below I have excerpted nearly every reference to slavery in the book, with my comments.

(A word about the author, Elizabeth Buford Richardson. I can’t figure out our precise relation; she must be like a great great great aunt or something, perhaps a great great second cousin once removed; I can’t really decipher genealogies. Our precise relation could be easily determined as all the data is there, but it’s beside the point. She was a Richardson born in 1837, who lived through the Civil War, wrote the family record, and died in 1907. It is her voice throughout, and her spin on the facts. We may discern that she loved the South, hated the North, and was a good Christian who had no problem with slavery. In this she seems typical of my ancestors.)

p. 19-20. Early 1800s. Re: Elizabeth Richardson.

… her colored people were never allowed to want for anything … Her well-trained servants doing her faithful service, so that every thing went on like clockwork in that well regulated home. She was a devoted Christian.

This is the first explicit slavery reference. It is so casually thrown in there. I shudder to read the likely euphemisms “well-trained” and “well regulated.” What punishments were available from this devoted Christian? What kind of Django Unchained nightmare was really going on?

p. 35-36. Late 1700s-1835. Re: Faithful Davy and Honest Jack.

Davy, the faithful valet of Capt. William Richardson, deserves mention in this record. Davy was noted for his fidelity and devotion to his master and to his master’s family. During those troublous times, when the whole country was in a state of unrest and his master, young, impetuous, and high spirited; this devoted slave would not only shield his master in time of danger, but ever on the alert, would step forward at the right moment frequently preventing trouble and perhaps sorrow. When Davy died [in 1835] he was laid to rest in the west end of the Bloom Hill burial ground (which spot was appropriated for the colored dead), and his grave marked with a marble tombstone, the epitaph headed ‘Faithful Davy.’ A few steps farther on we may read the epitaph on the tomb of ‘Honest Jack,’ a faithful servant of Judge John Smythe Richardson, the third son of Capt. William Richardson.

I was able to find the full epitaphs of Davy and Jack on usgenwebsites.org. Here is the epitaph of “Faithful Davy”:

David, who was born 8th February, 1747, O.S.
He served his Master
Wm. Richardson
Faithfully through the Revolutionary
War and up to 1786, and after
that his Master’s widow &
eight children with the same
fidelity to January 1835 —
When faithful David died in peace.
Near him lies Binah his aged wife
who also served the same family well,
for nearly the same time.
Their example has been good & profitable
on the Plantation & we pray them Heaven —
W.T. White, Stone Maker.

Key words: “profitable on the Plantation.”

And here is the epitaph of “Honest Jack”:

Honest Jack
Died: 15 May A.D. 1848, aged 77 tears [sic].
This trustworthy servant was the friend of his
owner & watched his interest as if his own.
Ever thrifty yet sparing to himself. He left
86 dollars laid up from time to time for his
widow — Sally — & their children.
Condemn not his example in a lowly agent, High
& low in this world are terms of human note:
But, not to him with whom nothing is great, the
nothing insignificant. To all men then must not
this be the important question. Have the duties
of life as assigned to each station by Providence,
been conscientiously discharged.

It turns my stomach the way the final lines of this affectionate epitaph contain the very definition of white supremacy: “the duties of life as assigned to each station by Providence.” One can almost hear the modern white supremacists’ refrain, “Slavery wasn’t so bad … they loved him, they housed him, and fed him. Black people should be grateful to the white man.” But: they didn’t love him enough to free him.

p. 50. Circa 1830s. Re: William Guignard Richardson, oldest son of Capt. William Richardson.

He inherited Bloom Hill … But alas, the time came when he suffered great financial loss … His home, slaves, and in fact all his possessions were sold at sheriff’s sale … his younger brother, Judge John S. Richardson, bought in the ancestral home, and ‘Bloom Hill’ went not into the hands of strangers.

Human beings here are counted in a list of objects: “His home, slaves, and in fact all his possessions…” As well, the wording leaves open the distinct possibility that while the home was kept in the family, the slaves were not – making it quite possible that families were split up at the auction block.

p. 82: Mid-1800s. Re: John Smythe Richardson, fourth child of Captain William Richardson.

His colored people, of whom he was very considerate, never ceased to call him blessed. He built them a church and named it for his wife – ‘Elizabeth’s Chapel,’ and he engaged a minister to preach to them, that his colored people might have Bible instruction and Christian privileges … We can [figuratively] see him now, as in the long ago, seated in his comfortable carriage, drawn by strong, swift horses, the lines in the hands of an expert driver, who was also his faithful valet.

I assume “Christian privileges” means access to the afterlife.

p. 85-86. Circa 1827. Re: John Smythe Richardson’s wife, Sophia Hyatt, who was from Rhode Island.

She was delicate, but the change from the northern clime to this southern home agreed well with her; she took on flesh, which made her even more beautiful. She was intelligent, cultured, and well read … Although it was more than twenty-five years before the war between the sections culminated, yet at that remote period she was quick to discern the unfairness dealt by northern politicians to her adopted southland, whose cause she heartily endorsed. Could she then have looked through the vista of time, she would have seen her own four noble boys, grown to warrior men, in battle array against the northern foe. But she was true and just, and had she been with us in the hour of offended rights, her kiss of good-bye to her soldier boys would have been accompanied by the buckling on of their armor [figuratively].

In the story of Sophia Hyatt we see how, even though she had the misfortune to be born a Northerner, she was not irredeemable. She was true and just! The Civil War is characterized here as “the hour of offended rights” – including that God-given right to own slaves.

p. 111. 1865. Re: Margaret Muldrow Logan, the daughter of Susan William Ann Richardson and Thomas Muldrow Logan.

Margaret … married Robert Aiken Yongue … Their home was in Columbia, S.C., and was destroyed when Sherman burned that beautiful city … Sherman, that enemy of our South-land.

Here we come full circle to Sherman’s March. About the burning of Columbia, it is historically not 100 percent settled who did the lion’s share of it. Apparently, a lot of people were setting fires that day. The odds tip in favor of the blame belonging to retreating Confederates setting a blaze that got out of control. Wikipedia has an article about it with references.

The other point I want to make regarding Sherman’s March is that it took place in 1864. Elizabeth Richardson is writing her account in 1906, 42 years later, still bitterly muttering that the slaves were treated great and so why did Sherman burn the city. This family genealogy book is a Confederate document. But the same mutterings are heard in America to the present day.

p. 135. 1810. Re: Emily Richardson, who married John Ioor in 1804.

[They] lived near Statesburg, S.C., until 1810, when they and their three small children … moved to the Mississippi Territory, taking with them their large number of slaves.

To mention “their large number” can only serve to remind us of these white people’s extravagant wealth, and by extension, their God-given business acumen — and dominion.

The best I can say about my ancestors is that they were enculturated to believe in “stations assigned by Providence.” They were “of their time.” But, they were highly educated people with no excuse. Among their number are a preponderance of scholars, judges, and clergy, consistently praised in the record for their intelligence, sensitivity, and kindness. They must have been aware of the long-raging international debate about the morality of slavery — for instance, slavery was abolished in England in 1807, more than 50 years before the American Civil War. And yet the Southern states still attempted to perpetuate it. Think about it: if the South had succeeded against the North in 1865, slavery might very well have continued into the 20th Century. My ancestors may have been blithely “of their time,” but most of the rest of the world “of their time” felt revulsion.

The Richardsons deserved to lose it all. Sherman’s March was the best thing that ever happened to them. They needed to be forcefully disabused of the notion that they could defy the civilized world. With a time machine, I would burn down Columbia myself. (Parts of America appear to need burning down periodically.) The Richardsons of yore were many things – some of those things were wonderful, and remarkable! – but they were also a bunch of ignorant crackers.

Postscript

My father is buried in Milledgeville, Georgia. Milledgeville was the state capitol in the Civil War days. It was in the Milledgeville statehouse that the articles of secession were passed by the Georgia legislature. Imagine if secession had been allowed to stand: if states could leave the country over slavery, could counties secede from states? Could cities then secede from counties? The doctrine of secession is a logic of diminishing returns. Secession fever was a mass folly.

The cry of “states’ rights” basically killed the Confederacy. With every state a sovereign one, the Confederacy never gelled around the central government it needed to win the war. For instance, states withheld troops from the war effort as they saw fit. The political ideology of the South was muddled and idiotic.

Milledgeville lay along the path of Sherman’s March. In November 1864, 30,000 Union soldiers marched into it. Before they left, they entered the statehouse and staged a mock legislative session where they voted Georgia back into the Union. I will admit: that sounds like my idea of a good time.

After the war, Milledgeville was viewed as a symbol of the “Old South,” and so the capitol was moved to Atlanta, symbol of the “New South.” Today, Milledgeville is a small town barely two-thirds the population of the Union force that marched into it that day. Almost no one remembers the role Milledgeville played in secession, a role cheered by my forebears. History has consigned those terrible acts to the dustbin. Let them so remain.

With a time machine, I would smack my ancestry around, but I don’t have to: the Union Army did it for me. By the Civil Rights era, my lineage had finally left the wrong side of history.

Do you see, oh modern wavers of the hateful Confederate flag, how easy it is to denounce your heritage for what evils it may contain? Confederate flags are for one thing, and one thing only: burning.

9 Comments

Bill Nash

about 4 months ago

I've never met Jim Richardson, and we are a generation apart (while he was born in 1969, I was born twenty years earlier, in 1949). But the parallels between the lives of our ancestors are eerily similar.

I have family members in both of my parent's lineages going back to the 1600s in America. On both sides were soldiers in the American Revolution, a total of five. My father's family were Virginians, and he was born in Norfolk. My mother's people lived in the same location in Orangeburg, South Carolina, for “thirteen generations,” as my mother used to like to say. (Orangeburg was the site of early unrest during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. If interested, you can look it up.)

In the early 1960s, my parents began sending me to both my maternal grandparent's and my paternal grandmother's homes for visits in the summers. (My father's father had died when my father was four.) I happened to be in Orangeburg just after the first sit-in at the Kress dime store lunch counter. My cousins took me there to see how the owners had removed the stools from the lunch counter, leaving only the poles upon which they had sat. Anything to keep things white.

My parents were, in my opinion, relentless social climbers. This manifested in several ways. They required all four of their children to speak “the King's English;” in other words, our grammar and vocabularies were constantly being corrected and enhanced. In the past couple of decades, I have been thankful for this, but when I was younger I actually tried to “unlearn” it because of the mocking I got from peers for “sounding like a college professor.” And other than my first six months (I was born in Atlanta) those summer trips, and two years in the Army, I've always lived in the North. So obviously the anti-intellectualism is not an exclusive feature of the South, though it is probably in no danger of disappearing from that region any time soon.

Another key feature of my parent's obsession with upward-mobility (economic, at least) was their ability to conceal and soften their inculcated racism. My father very early developed a skill of saying as little as possible on any controversial topic, as he saw that as a key to advancement. Had he not retired at 55, his next promotion would have been a vice presidency of United Air Lines (“A” vice presidency ... there are lots of them) so I guess it worked out as he intended.

My mother was a little less reticent, but mostly both of them were steeped in euphemisms. African-Americans were “colored.” To my grandfather, they were “Negras.” I seldom heard any of them use the “n-word,” though my mother, from time to time, would let slip with a “coon” or “jungle bunny.” But however ingrained those racist feelings may have been, politeness trumped prejudice, and they kept it mostly to themselves.

But it came out in subtle ways. I remember when I was very young, my mother admonishing me for putting a penny in my mouth by explaining to me that I “didn't know if some Negra had been playing with it.” As if that race had some sort of proprietary relationship with germs. Their ideas of racial purity were so overwhelming that when I was in junior high school, and told my mother that I had a crush on a girl named Joan Solarcyzk at school, my mother noted that her name “sounded Polish,” and discouraged me from seeing her further. During one of my vacation trips to South Carolina, my cousins and I befriended three brothers, who were African-American. We had a fun day of playing with them, but when we went home for supper at the end of the day, my grandfather called us all in and told us in no uncertain terms that he “forbade” us to play with them again. Some local hero had apparently seen us with the boys and notified my grandfather. I don't ever recall him “forbidding” us to do anything else.

For some reason (perhaps the same reason that allowed me to turn away from Christianity and all religion when I was eight) I never seemed to “catch” the racism that was all around me, but I certainly don't want to give the impression that I actively fought it, or even confronted it. I was not a particularly brave boy, and I could pretty easily intuit what a difficult time would await me should I challenge that bit of stupidity. So I kept my mouth shut. As Mr. Richardson alluded to, my family was also one that attempted to “drain away the slavery,” and simply didn't refer to it much. My grandparents in South Carolina had an African-American maid every time I visited, who spent the morning preparing dinner (which, as was customary, was the big meal of the day, served at noon) and then cleaned up the kitchen and the rest of their home until mid-afternoon, when they would take her back to “her side of town. Of course they paid her (probably next to nothing, but I'm unaware of the fine points of that contract) but even as a child it struck me as odd and sad that after fixing all that delicious food, she had to eat by herself in the kitchen while we enjoyed a big family meal around the table in the dining room. Although knowing what I do now, I suspect this was the less stressful arrangement for her.

The oft-referenced romanticism of the Confederacy was reflected in many ways. My mother was fond of saying (often for no apparent reason, “Save your confederate money, boys, the South will rise again!” My grandfather actually had some confederate money, in a box with other old keepsakes. As a kid, I used to buy packs of it ... counterfeit, play confederate money, printed on "parchment." There was a weird Kool-Aid smell to it, which I assumed had something to do with processing the paper to make it have that parchment texture. You could buy stuff like that when I was young.

Of course my childhood was rife with Civil War references. My elementary school, James Madison, in Arlington, Virginia, was reputed to have been the site of a minor clash in that war. I recall during recess some of us would scour the nearby woods for some sort of relic from that battle. Never found anything, but of course we enjoyed looking.

Eventually, as I learned more and more, I became anti-war, and by the time I was drafted, had decided to resist. But recently as I was reminiscing about my youth, I realized that up to the point when I decided I was against militarism (in high school) I would probably have been seduced by the romance of it, though only if the South had needed my services. At that time, I identified with my family's history, which was definitely pro-Confederacy.

Like Mr. Richardson, I also have access to genealogy (though my ability to read and decipher it is much less than his). My older sister is a very successful romance novelist, and her hobby is tracing the family tree, the pursuit of which has led her to both the archives in Salt Lake City, and even more original source material in Ireland, where much of my family originated. In 2000, when I had embarked on a pursuit of learning about racism, and knowing about the long history of our family in the “New World,” I asked her if we hadn't had at least one Native American or African-American in our family tree. In light of what I was learning, it seemed unlikely that hadn't occurred at least a time or two. Her answer was, “Well, Billy, we WERE from the South.” And though she meant to say that therefore it would never have happened, I interpreted that to mean that I would never be able to prove it, because it would have been swept under the rug and kept there. My sister, incidentally, is a proud member of the DAR, which explains a lot to those familiar with that organization.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that I think I understand where Mr. Richardson is coming from, and what he is saying rings very true. And though the preponderance of Americans do not have roots in this country stretching back as far as he and I do, it's not completely uncommon, and many of the inherent traits of that background are similar. What sometimes differs greatly is how we react to them in the modern era. I have no sense of pride for that “heritage,” partly through education and partly through just living through some of the pain and ugliness that continues to be its legacy. And having no pride in that, and thus no “dog in the fight,” I do not feel any compunction to justify or rationalize it, other than to simply factor in background as part of the explanation of why some people cling to such obsolete and hurtful ideas. I enjoyed the essay, and salute Mr. Richardson's courage. Speaking out against racism, especially in such a personal way, probably won't make a lot of enemies, but the chance always includes making a few very, very angry ones. However, until we universally reject that dark history and our “Southern Heritage,” we seem to be doomed to the current “Groundhog Day” paradigm of “Wash, rinse, repeat.”

Let's break that cycle! 

Dave Sorensen

about 4 months ago

That was very interesting. The Confederate flag is absolutely the moral equivalent of the Nazi swastika. Both represent the cause of white supremacists who lost a war against the US while fighting on the wrong side of history. One often hears that taking down confederate statues is an attempt to "erase history." But you can learn history from books, you don't need to dominate public spaces with memorials to evil fuckers. I'm guessing lots of people don't realize those monuments mostly went up after the Civil War, and were put up as symbols of Jim Crow apartheid. That many people don't know that shows those monuments fail to convey historical truth. We could take down those statues and place them in educational sculpture gardens, a sort of losers' hall of shame. Then people might actually learn history from them.

Jim Richardson (aka Lake Superior Aquaman)

about 4 months ago

Bill - I appreciate your comments very much - they add to the essay and I thank you. Speaking of genealogies, one of my aunts married a Nash from the south and all my cousins from that union are Nashes, perhaps there is some relation. Cheers

Jim Richardson (aka Lake Superior Aquaman)

about 4 months ago

Dave - full agree. Thanks for your kind words. Cheers

Sam Todd

about 4 months ago

I feel your shame, Jim. I found a copy of a letter written by an ancestor that has my exact full name. It was a letter written to Abraham Lincoln. The writer was asking to be forgiven for forsaking his American citizenship in the lead up to the Civil War. I checked my bloodline on Ancestry.com. It turns out that I have some Central African heritage. I imagine it is due to a rape on a plantation.

Jim Richardson (aka Lake Superior Aquaman)

about 4 months ago

Sam - Thanks for this. That is crazy about the Lincoln letter. It all boggles the mind. I don't feel a sense of personal shame exactly -- since I didn't do anything personally -- and yet, it all has everything to do with me, my identity, and being white in America. At least we can confront it honestly and directly. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and all that. I haven't done ancestry.com or any DNA tests, but I'm sure there are more rocks to be kicked over. I don't intend to turn this into an essay series -- but I will note this is just my father's side of the family; I didn't even look at my Mom's side (nor do I have similar source material). But now that I've tugged the thread, more avenues suggest themselves. Cheers.

Margaret Buchanan

about 4 months ago

This is my Genealogical Record, too. William Richardson is my 5x great grandfather, thru daughter Emily married to John Ioor/Joor, on my mom's southern side of the family. I wouldn't ever flaunt that heritage, it is what it is, I can't change it, so I continue to learn and hopefully improve my awareness, be anti-racist. I totally agree that flag has to go.
 
I DO have a Richardson who fought on the Union side, but he is thru my dad's unrelated Northern Richardson family in New York State. As far as I know his Richardson ancestor came to New York about 1800 from England.

I did DNA testing after someone found me while searching her Louisiana roots, she was adopted. (We live 7 miles away from each other, but over 4000 miles from Louisiana.) We are something like fourth cousins, she is African American. We are probably not related thru Richardson/Joors, but a different branch of my family. I have many more African American cousins listed on ancestry, a lot thru Barrows who were extremely wealthy slave-owners in Louisiana. Bottom line we are all cousins.

This is an awakening ... a LONG time coming and I hope it sticks. What also gets me, is those that say they had nothing to do with slavery so they were not a part of the problem, & don't have to be part of  the solution. Or they individually are not racist  If you live in the US, even if you moved here after the civil war or only lived in the north, you have benefited from slavery, this country was built with it. And the problem of systemic/institutional racism has persisted even tho the war was over 150 years ago ... thru reconstruction, jim crow laws, segregation, confederate monuments, red lining, drug laws, voter suppression, police brutality, and so on.

Jim Richardson (aka Lake Superior Aquaman)

about 4 months ago

Margaret- Thanks so much for your comment - I appreciate it. You are the second previously unknown relative to pop up in these comments, a wonder to me. I possess a lot of information on some of our shared ancestors in book of Richardson genealogy, I'd be happy to share.

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