includes video interview with Cheadle
Veteran Hollywood actor Don Cheadle, an Oscar-nominee for the film Hotel Rwanda, sat down with a PBS interviewer to review detailed research that was done on his ancestors.
Like most Black Americans not descended from immigrants, Cheadle was hardly surprised when told his ancestors were slaves in the pre-Civil War United States.
But when he was told exactly who their slave-owners were, he was in for an absolute shock, and all of us are in for a history lesson that shatters stereotypes.
So Cheadle’s slave ancestors were owned by the Chickasaw. Not only that, they remained slaves for years after America abolished slavery because the Chickasaw nation was Sovereign, and refused to give up their slaves. And even after the U.S. had to force the Indians to free their slaves (irony) they refused to grant them citizenship, as America did, leaving the ex-slaves no nationality. They weren’t American or Chickasaw.
And according to some other ex-slaves, the Chickasaw were cruel slavemasters, as much any any White owner. Former slave Kziah Love told an interviewer in 1937, when she was 93 years old, what life had been like for an enslaved person in Indian Territory.
“That was a sorry time for some poor old black folks,” explained Love, who remembers living in fear of her Indian slave owner. “I believe he was the meanest man the sun ever shined [sic] on … He was sho’ bad to whup niggers … He’d beat ‘em most to death … One time he got mad at his baby’s nurse and he hit her on the head with some fire tongs and she died.”
Pretty mind blowing. Were you taught this in your history class?