African American Lives
Analyzing the Evidence
The Science and the Investigators
Who am I? A Genealogy Guide
Sharing Stories
For Educators
About the Series

Sharing Stories
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STORYTELLER: Archives and the Library of Congress LOCATION: Washington, District of Columbia YEAR TOOK PLACE: 1870s

As I was researching my paternal ancestors, I learned that my great-grandfather, Benjamin M. McCoy, had been a prominent African-American in Washington, D.C. during the 1870s. When the first election for D.C. Council was held, my great-grandfather was elected after what appeared to be a very acrimonious campaign. The political situation is described in a book titled "The Uncivil War" by an author by the name of WHYTE. I found the book in the Library of Congress.

My great-grandfather was also included in the Congressional Record of 1868 where he is mentioned as being a teacher for "colored children". (So far, I have been unable to locate a picture of him.) I've learned that his mother, Hannah McCoy, was a former slave, in Virginia, who was granted manumission in 1801. I've been unable to determine who his father was.

One of the reasons I was never told anything about my father's side of the family while growing up is because he was "passing" for white and my mother's family did not really accept him.

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