Hundreds Of Thousands Of Africans Were Slaves In America. Wanda Tucker Believes She’s Descended From The First 1619 Arrivals

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Written by Ann Brown
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Via USAToday.com

Slaves played more than a major role than building America. But were any of them part of the founding families of America? The Tuckers of Hampton, Virginia, thinks they are and one member is out to gather official evidence to prove so.

“They have a widely recognized but possibly unprovable claim: that they are directly descended from the first identified African American people born on the mainland of English America, an infant baptized ‘William’ around 1624,” USA Today reported.

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It is more than difficult for African Americans to definitely trace their roots. There was very little attention paid to keep records of slaves and the records there were kept were often destroyed by fire or time. And the Tuckers have found this to be true. So far they have been unable to  find genealogical or DNA evidence linking them to the first Africans who were brought to America’s shores. They do have oral history and family lore. They also have a cemetery, purchased by the family in 1896, where many of their answers were buried.

They even created the William Tucker 1624 Society to upkeep the cemetery. “The Tucker 1624 Society received a $100,000 grant from an environmental nonprofit for cemetery work. The legislature approved an easement to protect the cemetery from development and ensure public access. Gov. Ralph Northam visited the cemetery last August to sign the legislation,” USA Today reported.

“Cemeteries can be a way for us to retrace our history,’’ he said.

But these challenges aren’t deterring Wanda Tucker, 61, who traveled all the way back to Angola to try and trace the line of the Tucker family. The Ph.D., professor, department chair has a major task ahead of her.

“The Tuckers believe their American story started in 1619. According to a letter by the tobacco planter John Rolfe, the widower of Pocahontas, a ship landed in England’s 12-year-old Jamestown settlement and ‘brought not anything but 20, and odd, Negroes, which the Governor and the Cape Merchant bought for victuals’ – provisions,” USA Today reported.

In 1625 “William theire Child Baptised’’ along with another African child, unnamed, appears for the first time in the census. Williams is the first recorded African baby baptized in Virginia. He was born to Anthony and Isabella, survivors of the White Lion, a privateer that landed at Virginia’s Point Comfort, where its captain traded slaves for supplies. The Tuckers think that William is their founding father and that is surname was Tucker, after Capt. Tucker.

So far, the Tuckers can trace its roots to the early 1800s but no early leaving a 175-year gap in a genealogical chain to William.

Wanda is aiming to fill it in.