By the close of the Civil War in 1865 all American slaves became free citizens. Suddenly a new life dawned for them and their descendants.
Arthur Jackson, a slave born in 1856 in Kanawha County, Virginia, was nine-years-old when he and his family were emancipated in Franklin County, Mo. He took the surname of his master, Richard Ludlow Jackson Sr. within whose household he was born and lived intermittently until adulthood.
Eventually Arthur met Ida May Anderson, a white woman, and they raised a family together. Their six children passed for white and Arthur's African-American heritage became a family secret and was eventually forgotten. During the following century, five generations of Arthur and Ida's descendents lived as white Americans.
Thirty years of genealogical research by one of their great-great-grandsons, the author, revealed the secret that Arthur was born a slave, that he and Ida were a biracial couple, and that their children were of mixed racial heritage.
Born a Slave: Rediscovering Arthur Jackson's African American Heritage explores this man's birth, childhood, life as a freedman, his ancestry, and his master's family. It also calls all Americans–regardless of apparent race or ethnicity–to abandon preconceptions and explore every ancestor objectively and with an open mind... especially if they may have been a slaveholder or if they were born a slave.