A recently published report has sent shockwaves across the United States, as it exposes the connections between American politicians and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The report discloses the names of U.S. presidents, senators, and members of the House of Representatives whose families were involved in slave ownership.
One striking fact highlighted in the report is that out of all the living individuals who have held the office of President of the United States, only one has no ties to American slavery. Surprisingly, it is not the first African-American president, Barack Obama, but his successor, Donald J. Trump.
Upon learning this historical fact, the former president wasted no time sharing it with his followers and leveraging it as part of his campaign to attract Black supporters. He posted an excerpt from the report on his social media platform Truth Social, emphasizing that President Joe Biden and every living former U.S. president, except himself, are direct descendants of slaveholders. Trump’s message resonated particularly with African Americans, as he urged them to take note and remember this information.
The public response on social media was mixed, with many delving into Trump’s family history to explore the broader context. Some argued that while his family did not benefit from slavery, his father had ties to the Ku Klux Klan and engaged in anti-Black terrorism after the abolition of slavery.
According to MSNBC, Trump’s ancestry can be traced back to European immigrants. His German ancestors arrived in the United States after the abolition of slavery in 1865. It is worth noting that during the era when many European countries and the Americas exploited African labor, Germany did not exist as a unified nation. Germany was established in 1871, and prior to that, various regions such as Prussia and the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation were in control.
These entities were involved in forced labor and the exploitation of African individuals, offering liberation only upon baptism, as described in the essay “There Are No Slaves in Prussia” by Rebekka Von Mallinckrodt in the book “Slavery Hinterland: Transatlantic Slavery and Continental Europe, 1680-1850.”
The report’s revelations have sparked a broader conversation about historical ties to slavery and the complex legacies of individuals in positions of power. It serves as a reminder that understanding and acknowledging the past is crucial for addressing systemic issues and promoting equality in the present.