Prominent People Who Were Part Black

Bet you didn’t know that some of these prominent historical figures had black ancestry.

1. Charlotte, Queen of England (1744-1818) and wife of the English King George III(1738-1820). According to PBS, she was directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. She was also the Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg and electress of Hanover (Windsor).According to Wikipedia:

Allan Ramsay, a noted abolitionist, frequently painted the Queen in works said to emphasize the alleged mulatto appearance of Charlotte, and Ramsay’s coronation portrait of Charlotte was sent to the colonies and was used by abolitionists as a de facto support for their cause.

2. Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837), Russian poet is the great grand son of Ibrahim Petrovitch Gannibal, a black man from Ethiopia. Pushkin, unlike many prominent people, rather liked and bragged about his African ancestry, insisting his grandfather was from a royal clan. According to PBS:

Pushkin’s preoccupation with his African ancestry is all the more telling since Ibrahim Gannibal was his maternal great-grandfather. Furthermore, Nadja, his mother, was through her own mother, a descendant of the same Pushkin forbear from whom her husband Serge descended. This is genetically interesting since it explains why the poet, who is generally but mistakenly accepted as an octoroon (1/4 African), looks perceptibly blacker.

One of Pushkin’s granddaughters Alexandrovna even married a grandson of Queen Victoria, Prince Nikolaus Wilhelm of Nassau in Chapel Royal at Buckingham Palace in 1868. Another, his eldest, was reportedly the prototype for Anna Karenina.

3.Sir James Douglas, fur trader, governor of Vancouver Island, 1851-63, and of British Columbia, 1858-64 . According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, he was born in a Demerara, Guyana in 1803. His merchant father was of Scottish ancestry and his mother was a free creole (person of black and white ancestry). The marriage was never recognized. However, James’ father accepted him and sent him to Lenark, Scotland for schooling; after which, he moved to Canada for the fur trade.

4.Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), French author, Historian (The Count of Monte Cristo/Three Musketeers). According to OnlineLiterature: [he is]the third child born to Marie Louise Labouret, daughter of an inn keeper, and Thomas Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie (1762-1806) a military General under Napoléon. Alexandre’s grandfather, the Marquis Alexandre Davy de La Pailleterie (1710-1786) married a slave he fell in love with in San Domingo (now Haiti) named Marie Louise Césette Dumas (d.1772).Thomas took her last name when he himself enlisted with the French army. In 1843, Dumas wrote a short novel called Georges in which he discussed his ancestry in the famous quote: “My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends.”

5. Warren G.Harding, American President. Harding was apparently the great-grandson of a black woman. According to the New York Times, “Well into the 1930s, African-Americans claiming a family link continued to pop up in the press. (One decidedly dark-skinned Oliver Harding, supposedly the president’s great-uncle, appeared in Abbott’s Monthly, a black-owned Chicago magazine, in 1932.) Harding’s father’s second wife divorced him because he was too much Negro “for her to endure.”

6. Alexandro de Medici (b.1510), First duke of Florence, Italy. Alexandro lived during the Renaissance period. According to PBS, he was reportedly the son of a black serving woman called Simonetta da Collavechio and then seventeen year old Cardinal Giulio de Medici who later became Pope Clement VII. Cardinal Giulio was the nephew of Lorenzo the Magnificent. At thirteen, Alessandro was appointed regent of Florence, by his father upon being named pope.In 1532, the new Florentine constitution declared Alessandro hereditary Duke and perpetual gonfalonier of the republic. NOTE: the Medici family was very prominent in banking and they produced four popes.

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About TCDH

Blogger with an opinion.
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3 Responses to Prominent People Who Were Part Black

  1. Y says:

    Scandalous! But interesting. I didnt now Alexander Dumas was a 1/4 black. These are cool things to know…

  2. Mel says:

    You learn something new every day. A few of the entries surprised me when I was researching it, especially the ones about the royal families and the Medici family.

  3. Mira says:

    I knew about Pushkin and Dumas, and I remember reading about Alexandro de Medici, but I didn't know about the other ones (well, this is the first time I heard of James Douglas, and I know very little about Warren G.Harding).

    Some people claim Beethoven was also part black, though I am not sure if they have any proof of it besides his physical appearance (I believe he was darker than the rest of the people around him, and he had really thick hair, but it's not enough of a proof- my husband has that type of hair and he's white). But I guess Beethoven case is worth mentioning.

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