'No No No No': Radical Activist Angela Davis Dismayed to Learn Her Ancestors Owned Slaves, Arrived on Mayflower


Far-left activist Angela Davis found out through PBS she is a descendant of someone who came to America in 1620 on the Mayflower.

Not only that, but one of her relatives owned slaves in Georgia.

The former Black Panther did not take the news well – at least not initially.

Davis, 79, appeared on PBS’ “Finding Your Roots,” where host Henry Louis Gates Jr. unspooled her identity in front of the world.

In spite of her life fighting the legacy of “colonizers,” she was informed she is descended from one of the first non-natives to call America home — a man named William Brewster.

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In a clip he shared on Twitter, Gates handed the proud Marxist a sheet of paper. It was a manifest of Mayflower passengers, which the host chipperly informed his guest contained a relative in Brewster.

She appeared as though her life had been turned upside-down.

“Any idea what you’re looking at?” Gates asked a puzzled Davis. “That is a list of passengers on the Mayflower.”

“No, I can’t believe this,” she said through nervous laughter. “No. My ancestors did not come here on the Mayflower.”

“You are descended from one of the 101 people who sailed on the Mayflower,” Gates insisted.

“No, no, no, no,” Davis protested. “No, no, no, no.”

“Oof. That’s a little too much to deal with right now,” she said.

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Gates was adamant his research had not let him down.

“Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that you may have descended from people who laid the foundation for this country?” he asked her.

“Never, never, never, never,” she said.

It was as if a lifetime of radical activism and self-victimization had gone up in flames in a single moment.

How is someone who has dedicated her life to advocating for communism and black separatism supposed to digest the revelation she is a colonizer?

Davis has attached herself to The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which attempts to reprogram intellectually vulnerable people into believing the United States was founded not by people seeking religious liberty but to preserve the institution of slavery.

On that note, Gates also informed Davis she is the descendant of a slave owner — a man named Stephen Darden who moved from New England following the American Revolution and settled in Georgia.

Darden owned at least six slaves, the host said. Some of his relatives later settled in Davis’ native state of Alabama — and the rest is history.

“I always imagined my ancestors as the people who were enslaved,” she said in response.

The information is inconvenient for someone such as Davis whose identity is based on the sole and misguided belief she has been victimized by a system created by people with whom it turns out she shares a genetic bond.

Davis concluded throughout her discussion with Gates that she was grateful to know the truth about her family’s complicated story.

She, of course, never owned slaves. But neither did any of the living descendants of Stephen Darden or other families that participated in the evils of slavery.

The United States is a vast country with a 400-plus-year history. It’s not exactly a surprise someone such as Davis was so easily connected to America’s first permanent residents – and people who went on to own human beings.

The country’s founding is much more nuanced than advocates for critical race theory would like to acknowledge.

Davis is proof of that.

White Americans are no more responsible for the actions of their ancestors than someone like Davis, whose blood relatives quite literally settled this country.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.