Is President Barack Obama (the son of a Kenyan father and a white American mother) really our first "black" president? According to some historians, both black and white, there have been at least six previous United States presidents who've had known black ancestry!
While the more "mainstream" historians remain skeptical, these type of allegations garner the most interest among African Americans primarily because they recognize all the possibilities of truth in the assertions. It is also recognized that in American politics race has always been used by unscrupulous political opponents to incite, excite or otherwise smear whoever and whatever they wished. Regardless, most all seem to agree that our nation's 34th president Dwight Eisenhower and WarreG. Harding, our 29th U.S. president, are the most likely candidates. It is said that Eisenhower's mother, Ida Elizabeth Stover Eisenhower was a woman of color.
Something about a mysterious maternal grandfather who carried the surname of Link, and there being only two Links families in the Virginia town they originated in ~ a black one and a white one. And something about interviews conducted with elderly area blacks during the 1950's who long remembered the references to Eisenhower's mother as "that black Links gal". But perhaps the evidence that raised the proverbial eyebrow was the 1885 wedding day photograph of the president's parents which many say is all the evidence they need!
(Wow! I just had a flashback of being a little boy and my grandfather, a fair-skinned man with straight hair teaching me how to examine features to determine if someone was passing or not). Okay Corey, back to center....speculation, all of it! But look at Mrs. Eisenhower for yourself! What do you see? I've known many women who looked just like her, and men who looked like her son the president ~ people who calledthemselves black because it was heir choice to do so! Or perhaps because they didn't have a choice not to do so!
Warren G. Harding never flat out denied the accusations, and when pressed for a response, he referenced the old "nigger in a woodpile" comment with "how would I know who my grandparents jumped the fence with?" Interesting comment considering how much trouble his white biographers have gone through to provide him with an English and Dutch ancestry! More interesting still is that Harding attended college at Iberia College (renamed Ohio Central College), a school in Iberia OH founded to educate fugitive slaves. This makes perfect sense to Marsha Stewart,
The black author of Warren G. Harding, U.S. President 29: Death By Blackness (2005). She states that Harding's black ancestors escaped slavery in the south to the north by way of the Underground Railroad, and that she ought to know because she's Harding's fifth cousin. She traces their common ancestors (right) back to the black settlers of Isabella, Montcalm and Mecosta counties in central Michigan.
Warren Harding's immediate family remained in Ohio, but other branches moved to Michigan, according to Mrs. Stewart, who said those are the Hardings from whom she is descended. While his presidency is dismissed as ineffectual, whispers of black ancestry weren't the only rumors that swirled around Harding; he was most certainly one of our nation's most scandalous, which some have tried to blame on that very colorful strain of ancestry. For a complete (and very convincing) breakdown on Harding's heritage, presidency and personal life, visit the link here: www.stewartsynopsis.com/warren_gamaliel_harding.htm
REFERENCES AND ADDITIONAL READING
FIVE BLACK PRESIDENTS
Adler, D. (1987) Thomas Jefferson: Father of our Democracy. New York: Holiday House.
Bakhufu, A. (1993) The Six Black Presidents, Washington, D.C.: PIK2 Publications.
Bennett, L. (1988) Before the Mayflower. New Penguin Books.
Brodie, F. (1974) Thomas Jefferson, An Intimate History. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Curtis, J. (1982) Return to These Hills: The Vermont Years of Calvin Coolidge. Woodstock, Vermont: Curtis-Lieberman Books.
Dennis, R. (1970) The Black People of America. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co.
Erickson, E. (1974) Dimensions of a New Identity: Jefferson Lectures. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Kane, J. (1981) Facts About the Presidents: From George Washington to Ronald Reagan. New York: The H.W. Wilson Co.
Mapp, A. (1987) Thomas Jefferson: A Strange Case of Mistaken Identity. New York: Madison Books.
Morrow, E. (1963) Black Man in the White House. New York: Coward-McCann Inc.
Remini, R. (1966) Andrew Jackson. New York: Harper & Row
Reuter, E. (1969) The Mulatto in the United States. Haskell House.
Rogers, J. (1965) Sex and Race. St. Petersburg, FL: Helga Rogers Publishing
Rogers, J. (1965) The Five Negro Presidents. St. Petersburg, FL: Helga Rogers Publishing.
Sullivan, M. (1991) Presidential Passions: The Love Affairs of America’s Presidents – From Washington and Jefferson to Kennedy and Johnson. New York: Shapolsky Publishers Inc.
Whitney, T. (1975) The Descendants of the Presidents. Charlotte, NC: Delmar Printing Co.
Computer Underground Railroad Enterprises