Former Black Panther and former fugitive Angela Davis is now 79 years old. She is notorious for her work with the Communist Party USA and her activism in the 1960s and 70s.
Davis decided to appear on the PBS show that investigates the ancestry of celebrities.
It turns out that Davis may be more American than most of us.
She is a direct descendant of William Brewster, who arrived in 1620 on the Mayflower.
“Do you know what you’re looking at? That is a list of the passengers on the Mayflower,” Gates asked Davis in the video.
“No, I can’t believe this,” Davis replied, laughing. “No, my ancestors did not come here on the Mayflower.”
She was beside herself.
She continued to protest while Gates confirmed the findings then responded, “Oof. That’s a little bit too much to deal with right now.”
“Would you ever in your wildest dreams think that you may have been descended from the people who laid the foundation of this country?” he asked.
“Never, never, never, never, never,” she said.
Her fourth great-grandfather, Stephen Darden was born in colonial Virginia around 1750 and, according to a muster roll, played the drums during the Revolutionary War.
“I always imagine my ancestors as the people who were enslaved. My mind and my heart are swirling with all of these contradictory emotions,” said Davis.
On her father’s side, her great-grandfather Isom Spencer was enslaved and got his family to freedom. There were court records found showing he brought a complaint against a slaveowner holding his nephews at a plantation after emancipation.
From the Dailymail:
Davis’s father Benjamin Frank Davis grew in up in Lyndon, Alabama. His mother was Mollie Spencer butm similarly, nothing was known about his father.
Alabama Census records indicated that for at least ten years Mollie lived next door to a white man named Murphy Jones. Records stated that he sold her two acres of land for two hundred dollars and that the two were likely relatively close.
Using genetic profiles of Murphy’s known living relatives, researchers found multiple matches to Angela, indicating that Jones was her grandfather.
“Science” is a hell of a thing.