Last week, Ben Affleck was the subject of controversy after reports surfaced that he excluded a slave-owning relative from his family tree for his appearance on the ancestry show Finding Your Roots.
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice star explained in a post that the footage was not used because there were very few details of the account available.
After more research was done on the subject, it’s come to light that the Oscar winner had not one, but three slave-owning ancestors!
In the Affleck episode of the PBS program, the star learns that his sixth great-grandfather Jesse Stanley admirably fought in the American Revolution and was one of just 2,000 soldiers who served under George Washington!
But what Benny didn’t learn (on air, at least) was that Jesse’s grandfather Nathaniel Stanley was wealthy landowner who paid 80 pounds for a young boy called Tobe , who the family kept until he was grown up.
In the bill of sale, Tobe is referred to as a “negro boy” which the previous owner “sold as my proper estate.” Affleck’s other slave-owning ancestors included a man in Georgia and an Irish farmer from New Jersey who owned eight slaves.
These details must have been unknown during the filming of the actor’s episode of Finding Your Roots, as Affleck detailed that host Henry Louis Gates Jr. left the story out of his preliminary cut because he felt it was not a compelling narrative.
Though we shouldn’t be defined by our ancestors, we shouldn’t edit the icky parts out of our histories either. No one should feel personally embarrassed by the rotten branches of their family tree!
[Image via PBS.]