Posted on August 6, 2019

‘We Have a Long Way to Go:’ Descendants of First Black Americans on Race Relations

Angela Moore, Reuters, August 5, 2019

Four hundred years after the first ship carrying enslaved Africans arrived on the coast of Virginia, the descendants of one of the first black American families say race relations in the United States still have “a long way to go.”

The Tucker family, who trace their ancestry to the 1624 census of the then English colony of Virginia, has experienced every chapter of African-American history.

From captivity on ships to slavery on plantations, to the 1861-1865 U.S. Civil War waged over legal slavery, 20th century discrimination laws and lynchings, the civil rights struggle and to the Black Lives Matter movement, racial disparities course through life and politics in the United States.

“The race issues have always been here,” said Vincent Tucker, the president of the William Tucker 1624 Society who believes he is nine or 10 generations removed from William Tucker, born in Virginia in 1624 after his parents were transported from present-day Angola in 1619.

“We have a long way to go,” Tucker, 57, said.

Brenda Tucker, 77, another descendant of William who serves on the family society’s board, said she supported efforts by some Democratic lawmakers here to have the federal government issue reparations to black Americans who were economically affected by slavery.


Issuing reparations to all living people who are descendents of slaves or who have suffered racial discrimination has been estimated to cost trillions of dollars. {snip}

Some Democratic candidates here seeking the party’s nomination to run against Republican President Donald Trump in the 2020 election support reparations for African Americans who for generations were held back by legal discrimination and general prejudice.