My ancestors first became anatomically modern perhaps one or four hundred thousand years ago in Africa. Perhaps fifty thousand years ago, the bulk of them left Africa, at some point arriving in Europe and the British Isles, where they helped to outcompete existing populations of more robust hominids through technological and cultural creativity and perhaps a little dumb luck. As much as three and perhaps four hundred years ago, some of them set sail on wooden ships, eventually arriving on the American continents where they helped establish first colonies and then an independent nation that grew into a world power. Others arrived later by all manner of conveyance. Perhaps some had been here already, having previously been Asian. Some may have had more recent African origins. All could trace their lineage to Africa.
In the course of this history, my ancestors have been rich and poor. They have been white and black. They have been Africans, Europeans, Germans, Welshmen, Irishmen, Rhode Islanders, Canadians, and many other things I’m sure I know nothing about.
Today I am a poor, unemployed American that through the power of science am able to know and claim my African origins. Since there is no statute of limitations on African-ness, I therefore hope to join with the rest of my nation in recognizing and celebrating that we are all African-Americans.