Slaveowners in the Attic
August 8, 2013 3:51 PM Subscribe
My girlfriend recently found out that one of the branches of her family owned slaves pre-Civil War era in North Carolina. This has really devastated her at some level, especially because she was previously so proud of her near generation family (1 or 2 back). Even worse, it's her last name so she feels that she's been tainted by this revelation. While I was trying to make her feel better, it occurred to me that I didn't quite know how one deals with the fact that your family history is entwined with an evil like slavery, and the fact that it was legal at the time doesn't really assuage her guilt from her ancestors' actions.
posted by Lord Chancellor to Society & Culture (45 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Beyond the standard "you don't bear their guilt", I wanted to know if anyone else had insight how to come to terms with something like this. How does one approach a connection to slavery without whitewashing and shrugging your shoulders?