Where are we From?
Most of us know that our ancestors came from the continent of Africa, but until recently we had no way of knowing from which country or region they were captured. A few weeks ago, having had a female Parker/Strong descendant perform a mouth swab and submit it for DNA analysis by African Ancestry, we excitedly opened the following letter:
“It is with great pleasure that I report our MatriClan (DNA) analysis successfully identified your maternal genetic ancestry…we have determined that you share maternal genetic ancestry with the Bubi people in Bioko Island (Equatorial Guinea) today…. You have inherited this segment of DNA through your mother and it has been passed on consistently from mother and daughter to you over the last 500 - 2,000 years…your DNA sequence is 99.2% the same as sequences from Bubi people in Bioko Island today. “ (See African Ancestry under Historical Documents)
Therefore, all descendants of Amy Strong can say with 99% certainty that our first female African relative originated from the Bubi tribe and was most likely shipped to slavery in America. To ascertain our patrilineal African heritage, mouth swabs must be obtained from a male descendant of our earliest known male African ancestor.
We have also been able to determine through the US Census that the Parkers and the Strongs of Macon County came from Georgia in the early 1800’s. The earliest Parker we have been able to locate is Joseph Parker who was born in 1841. The earliest identified Strong is Jordan Strong, born in 1819. Along with our African heritage, we also inherit Caucasian and Native American DNA through the Strong family.
For thousands of years before the coming of European colonists and African slaves to Alabama and Georgia, the Creek Indians owned and controlled most of the territory, having highly developed social, cultural and governing structures. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, the Creeks’ land was forcibly taken from them by US governmental treaties (Indian Removal Act of 1830), assisted by local European colonists who saw Creeks as impediments to the development of Alabama and Georgia as major plantation states. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 resulted in the military supervised forced march of this once proud Native American nation of people to the Oklahoma Territory.
During this time, opportunists like Nathaniel Macon, a United States Senator from North Carolina, acquired thousands of acres of land in South Central Alabama which he developed for large cotton plantations. European buyers came from all over the South bringing and buying slaves from surrounding states such as Georgia, Louisiana and the Carolinas. Macon County was named for Nathaniel Macon, the propagator of slavery in this area during the time that our ancestors were children, teenagers and young adults. Macon County became part of the infamous “Black Belt” of the South, symbolized by oppressive Jim Crow laws, the rule of terror of the Ku Klux Klan, and limited educational and work opportunities for the new African Americans—even after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1865. This was the social, economic and political climate in which our ancestors had to live, work and rear families.