I Am African More Than The Country

Being an African American, I never fully grasped its true meaning. Fortunately, I missed the eras of slavery, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. I grew up having, for the most part, equal rights and my freedom to be me. When I began researching the family history of my biological family, I began to see how real black history is, and how much I am really connected to it.

I come from a group of people who were enslaved and a part of the slavery rape culture. However, I also come from people who were strong and determined. The fact that my ancestors over came the obstacles of slavery and segregation, say a lot about their strength and desire to be liberated.

Following the paper trail, I was able to document migration patterns mainly within the United States. My 6th great-grandfather came from Italy to Louisiana. Various ancestors were born in one state and were either enslaved or moved due to Emancipation to another state. I knew much of where my Caucasian ancestors came from, I knew their migration patterns, and I understood their histories that ventured deep into the early 1500s. Even my Native American ancestry was well documented and traceable. I like many other African Americans was stumped by the walls of enslavement for my African ancestors. Where specifically in Africa? I knew states and specific towns in specific countries for my my Caucasian and Native ancestors, but for my African ancestors I had only an entire continent, containing 54 countries to guess from.

As science and genealogy has evolved, DNA has become a go to factor in helping me identify and narrow down my African origins. At first, DNA gave me regions. I am predominantly West African. Now, thanks to GPS Origins, I understand some more of my DNA results due to the migration patterns estimated, and I can say I am Nigerian and Cameroonian from my kidnapped African ancestors.

In my own DNA, I supposedly had a small percentage of Caucasus region. I believe this stems from my ancestors migrating from Egypt and Israel & Palestine to Western Africa. More specifically, Nigeria and Cameroon. While I understand that I cannot take these result verbatim, I do value these results. These are the closest I have come to identifying origin countries within Africa for my African ancestors. I knew I was of African descent, but because I could accurately state where in Europe my Caucasian ancestors descended, I somehow felt a bit more connected to them. I have traveled to some of my ancestral regions in Europe, but I have not yet visited Africa because I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t know where I should go. I want to go to the countries that my ancestors lived and roam the lands they roamed. I want to feel a connection to them that I cannot explain to anyone else. I want to try to relive their fondest memories, and see their last sights before they were taken from the place they called home.

The image are my personal results from GPS Origins. It shows my possible migration patterns from my ancestors. The blue set begins in Egypt and then stopping in Chad and ending in  Nigeria. The red set begins in Israel & Palestine stopping in Libya before settling in Cameroon. Of course my DNA expressed other countries, but this patter reigned heaviest within my ancestral DNA.

I feel whole and connected. I feel connected to the people whom I share my skin color with. I feel whole because I can now complete my understanding of who I come from. I recommend people of African descent take this DNA test or at least transfer over their raw data from DNA tests taken elsewhere. I have had my adoptive mom’s results transferred over. The results explained possible migration patterns from the Middle East to Greece and Italy. We already had an assumption, but it was nice seeing everything in context and explained.

I am African like my man. He knows he is Nigerian because his dad is Nigerian. He knows he is Kenyan because he was born in Kenya and his mom is Kenyan. I am African, but now I know I am more than just a continent. I am African from Nigeria and Cameroon.

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