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At 88, he is a historical rarity — the living son of a slave
#1      At 88, he is a historical rarity — the living son of a slave    By
Sydney Trent
July 27, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. ADT

The whipping post. The lynching tree. The wagon wheel. They were the stories of slavery, an inheritance of fear and dread, passed down from father to son.

The boy, barely 5, would listen, awed, as his father spoke of life in Virginia, where he had been born into bondage on a plantation during the Civil War and suffered as a child laborer afterward.

As unlikely as it might seem, that boy, Daniel Smith, is still alive at 88, a member of an almost vanished demographic: The child of someone once considered a piece of property instead of a human being.

Long after leaving Massies Mill, Va., and moving up North as a young man in his 20s, Smith’s father, Abram Smith, married a woman who was decades younger and fathered six children. Dan, the fifth, was born in 1932 when Abram was 70. Only one sibling besides Dan — Abe, 92 — is still alive.  It’s not possible to know how many people alive today are the children of enslaved people, but we shouldn’t be so surprised that they still exist because the generations since slavery can be counted on one hand, said Hilary Green, an associate professor of history at the University of Alabama. “We don’t want to talk about it because we as Americans … we’re always forward thinking. We never think enough about the past.”

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