Angela Davis, a radical black activist, ended up visibly shocked when she found out that was, in fact, a descendant of one of the pilgrims which came over on the Mayflower.
The self-labeled Marxist feminist that was known in the 1970s to be a black power activist, appeared as a guest star on “Finding Your Roots,” a series on PBS, this past Tuesday. As part of her interview, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the host of the show, unveiled that the woman was actually a direct descendant of one of the original passengers who sailed over to the new world on the Mayflower, William Brewster.
Gates offered up a clip of the segment via a post to Twitter. “Any idea what you’re looking at?” he posited to the guest. “That is a list of the passengers on the Mayflower.”
In what seemed to be complete astonishment, Davis shook her head. “No, I can’t believe this,” she stated as she started to laugh and throw her hands in the air. “No, my ancestors did not come here on the Mayflower,” she says while laughing once again.
“Your ancestors came here on the Mayflower,” reasserted Gates. “You are descended from one of the 101 people who sailed on the Mayflower.”
“No. No, no, no, no,” she chanted back, still seemingly in extreme disbelief. After a few moments, she seemed to collect herself. “Oof. That’s a little bit too much to deal with right now,” she replied.
“Do you know what you’re looking at? That is a list of the passengers on the Mayflower.”
— Henry Louis Gates Jr (@HenryLouisGates) February 22, 2023
As explained in the episode, Frank Davis, Davis’ father, was legally the son of Edward Davis and Mollie Spencer. However, Edward Davis was not his biological father, due to Spencer and Davis separating prior to his being born. Instead, Drank Davis was the son of Mollie Spencer and a different white man named Murphy Jones. Experts were able to piece together Davis’s family line through jones all the way back to one William Brewster. an original signer of the Mayflower Compact that led the Plymouth Colony.
Also within the episode, Davis’s maternal grandfather happened to be a white Alabama Lawyer and state legislator named John Austin Darden. Via Darden, she is also the descendant of one man named Stephen Darden, a drummer who was born out in Virginia that took part in the Revolutionary War. Darden then made the move down to Georgia, where he owned a farm with a group of six slaves.
“I always imagined my ancestors as the people who were enslaved,” stated Davis. “My mind and my heart are swirling with all of these contradictory emotions.”