Running head: ETHNIC AUTOBIOGRAPHY
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Social Work Department
Class Number and Shortened Title (SWK 2000: Introduction to Social Work
Professor Georgianna Mack
On my honor this paper represents my own words and thoughts and/or the words and thoughts of others with proper citations. I have neither given nor received assistance on this assignment other than as authorized by the instructor.
Ethnic autobiographies should help individual gain knowledge of their family ethnic background. In researching the information about your family, you spoke to Aunts’, Uncles’ and researched any documents if possible. When gathering this information I found that many religious and ethnic groups are in my family. Finally, I found out that all African people are not decedents of slaves.
Our assignment in Human Population and Diversity class was to research our families ethnic back ground. The purpose of this paper was to help us make a connection with the groups of people we will be working with as potential social workers. In our county this is very important considering that the area that we live in is ethnically diverse. Robeson County contains several populations that are at risk. We have a great number of Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic people as well. These populations of people are historically minority groups that have been discriminate against in our society.
The ethnic group that I identify with the most is African American. My mother and father are both African American as well as their parents. My father’s name was Joseph Cade (a.k.a Joe) later he gained the nickname (preacher). He passed at the age fifty-four years old from lung cancer. Both of my father’s parents identify theirs selves as African Americans even thought they were biracial. My father’s mother was bi-racial she was African American and White. However my grandmother identified herself mainly as African American because her father identified himself as African American. My grandmother’s mother was white , her name was Cornelia at some point she remarried my grandfather Jack Smith which was African American and raised all there African American children with their white children. My grandmother Lelar family was from Clarkton North Carolina. If you were to see photographs of my grandmother and her brothers and sisters you can tell that they were bi-racial. On the other hand my father’s father was bi-racial as well but mainly identified himself as African American. Grandfather Daniel Cade was mixed with Native American and African American. Grandfather Daniel’s mother was a Lumbee Indian whose name was Sally; I am not sure what her last name was. She originally lived in Fairmont, North Carolina. Grandfather Daniel’s (a.k.a Dan) father was African American whose name was Peter Cade. Great Grandfather Peter Cade was a slave that was owned by the Biggs family here in Lumberton according to Aunt Sally. My Aunt Sally was named after my grandfather’s mother. My grandfather’s mother (Sally) was illiterate, despite this fact; my Aunt Sally stated that she had this incredatible capacity to remember information such as bible scriptures. My father’s side of the family has predominantly associated themselves as Baptist as their religion of choice. In fact, the church Rock Hill Missionary Baptist Church, that currently stands on the Pinelog road in Lumberton use to be a one room school that served the Raft Swamp community for years. The community at large that the Cade’s settled into was Raft Swamp, but the little neighborhood that the Cade’s lived in was known as Cadetown. This was because mainly all the people that lived there were family members. I lived in Cadetown all my life until about 2003 and as of today mostly everyone who lives in the neighborhood are cousins.
My mother like my father mainly identified herself as African American and just like my father’s family my mother’s family is also bi-racial. My mother’s name was Rosia Lee Davis Cade she died at forty-six years old of breast cancer. My mother was not from Robeson County she was from Washington County from a little town called Creswell, North Carolina. Grandfather Lester Allen Davis identifies himself as African American even thought his father was bi-racial and his mother was Native American. According to my Aunt Gurline Overton granddaddy’s father’s name was Jonny and his wife name was Emma Jane. Grandpa Jonny’s dad name was Luke and his ethnic identity was African American and Cherokee Indian his wife Tempie was a full blooded Cherokee Indian. I am not sure why they identified their selves as African American rather than Native American. Aunt Gurline said that Grandpa Jonny were never slaves and were people of property meaning that they had their own land. I also discovered that my mother’s family religion was originally Protestants’ and later converter to Pentecostal Holiness some years later.
My mother’s mom name was Naomi Leigh she identified herself as African American. Her father’s name was Haywood and his wife’s name was Nancy. Just like grandpa Davis family they had property except they were slaves at one point. Great- Grandfather Haywood father’s name was Hiram and his wife’s name was Mariah. However Grandfather Haywood had thirteen brothers and five sisters’ which lived in a town called Edenton, North Carolina. I was thoroughly surprised to find out that my relatives were not all decedents of slaves. My aunts on both sides of the family said, that being bi-racial was not a very big part of their lives, mainly because they identified themselves as African American. Aunt Sally reminded me that our neighborhood always welcome all races of people. Even though, the majority of the people that lived in Cadetown were African American and my grandmother’s house always had visitor that were of different ethnic groups. My Aunt Sally and Aunt Blanche said that as little girls they had friends that they played with that was Native American and White. The only place that they were separated was at school and church. Aunt Gurline is my mother’s sister and she said were they lived was the same way, it was a rural community. Therefore, everyone got along with each other they were only separated in church and school. In fact Aunt Gurline namesake came from a friend of my Grandfather Davis that was white. Grandfather Davis was very close friends with the brothers of Gurline. They watched after each other farms and played together as small children. Aunt Gurline said that they always had different races of people at their home.
The attitudes and perceptions and behaviors that I have the most trouble ignoring are when people play up to stereotypes that society has stuck us with. Especially stereotypes about African American women. We are not loud and we do not all live on welfare and I don’t have a bad attitude. I really don’t recall my parents saying anything negative about any other ethnic group. However, my father would say “you can tell people who have never had anything before, because they don’t know how to act when they get something.” My aunts and uncles also married people from different ethnic groups. My Aunt Sally’s husband was from Jamaica and my Uncle Lawrence wife was white, Uncle Smith’s wife is Korean, last but not lest my Aunt Lorraine’s husband was from Panama. So as you can tell our homes was always full of different cultures and ethnic groups.
Even, today I fellowship with a diverse group of churches and ethnic groups, I do not have one particular group of people that I fellowship with. I would like to think that my friends represent a wide range of ethnic groups. The majority of my friends are African American but some a bi-racial and others are from different religions as well as cultural. At work my friends are from the Philippians and some are from African American as well as Native American. I believe that coming from a family that is so ethnically diverse has helped me relate to all ethnic groups. My family has worked very hard to make sure we have every opportunity to me different people. When my family moved to New York city they widen their knowledge of ethnic groups even more. My father said that he had some friends that were Italian, he said he use to love to go to Sunday dinner at their house. They had a large table with food spread from one to the other. And they would keep bring the food out even , if you said you were full they still would continue to try to feed you food.
In conclusion, ethnic autobiographies are not easy to do but once I got started it was amazing the information that was discovered. I was truly amazed that not all my fore-parent was not decedents of slaves and that the majority of them were people of means.