I knew this story was going to grab me because you and I have much in common, though I am white. My grandmother lost her parents to smallpox in the last Oklahoma land rush when she was 12. Smallpox was raging in Oklahoma then; whole Native American villages were infected. I was well aware of the Trail of Tears (a family member married a man of Cherokee heritage). My late father shared ancestors with Abraham Lincoln and my mother shares ancestors with Thomas Jefferson. I was also well aware of the Sally Hemings story long ago and knew it to be true no matter how many experts denied it. My mother's Southern ancestors had a plantation in Arkansas with slaves; her great-great grandmother's marriage broke up when her husband fathered a child with a slave. This was kept a secret for many years. I was also well aware some Cherokees had slaves in the south and in Oklahoma. I tried to get a master's in history, but my interest was always on the human stories. I wish I couldn have heard this intereview when I was deciding I wasn't good enough to be a history professor! I have always done feature stories for newspapers and also had a local history program on our local NPR. I was born in Texas during segregation. The first time I went swimming in the public pool in the poor part of town, I said, "How lucky those kids are to swim here any time they want." My friend said, "They can't swim with us." Well, as Oscar Hammerstein wrote in "South Pacific," "You have to be taught to hate and fear." I feel you and I are history sisters and I am so proud of you.
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