For me, the dedication that George Schuylar makes at the beginning of his novel Black No More was one of the best parts of the book:
This book is dedicated
to all Caucasians in the great republic
who can trace their ancestry
back ten generations
and confidently assert that there are no
Black leaves, twigs, limbs or branches on
their family tree (Schuylar).
I think this sums up one idea that Schuylar was making in the story; the hypocrisy of racism. When Arthur Snobbcraft is confronted with the truth about his ancestry, Buggerie explains that because of masters sleeping with their slaves and the continued intermixing of the races over time, that many of the first families in Richmond had Negro blood. Snobbcraft is horrified and sets off to destroy the evidence that would prove he is part of the race that he so despises (Schuylar 181).
For many people, there are branches of their family tree they would like to keep hidden. For an assignment in my women’s history class, I had to research an ancestor. During my research, I discovered information that other family members had complied on our family tree was incorrect. Yet when I pointed out the error to my uncle and brother, who do most of the family history work, they were not willing to look at the evidence. After a couple of attempts to get them to look at the evidence, I realized that they were not interested. After reading Schuylar’s dedication, now I wonder. What kind of secrets are in that branch of my family tree? Were my brother and uncle unwilling to listen because they know about it? Someday, maybe I will have time to find out. Because for me, a family tree is much more fun when it is full of color and a lot of nuts.
A scene from Blazing Saddles that I thought went perfectly with Black No More.
Blazing Saddles. YouTube. Sacha Mannion, 21 Aug. 2007. Web. 5 Apr. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GRgoxWap-M>.
Schuyler, George. Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free, A.D. 1933-1940. Boston: Northeastern UP, 1989. Print.