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Journalist Who Wrote Deep Dive On Politicians’ Slave-Owning Ancestors Is Himself Descended From Slave Owners

A Reuters journalist who wrote a thorough investigation into over 100 politicians’ ancestors who owned slaves wrote an investigation into his own ancestry Wednesday, finding he, too, was descended from slaveowners.

Tom Lasseter, an enterprise editor for Reuters, was one of six journalists who contributed to a long enterprise story Tuesday detailing the connections to slavery held by numerous politicians’ ancestors, finding that five living presidents, two Supreme Court justices, 11 governors, and 100 legislators had ancestors who owned slaves. He then investigated his own ancestry, finding that he was also a descendant of slaveowners and that his family members were connected to groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, according to a Wednesday Reuters story.

Lasseter tracked down at least five slaveholders in three different Georgia counties, according to Reuters. Lasseter revealed that Abijah Julian, his great great-great-grandfather, owned four slaves. Lasseter also found that another ancestor, George Julian, had enslaved several people.

“I was a white kid descended from generations of white people from the deepest of south Georgia,” Lasseter wrote.

The journalist also discovered his ancestors’ proximity to the Ku Klux Klan.

“Someone started to tell a story about life in Quitman, the town in Brooks County where Grandma Horseyfeather lived. It was about the Ku Klux Klan and its marches. The Klan would saunter down the street, wearing hoods and sheets, thinking no one knew who they were,” Lasseter wrote, detailing a story once told at a relative’s dinner table when he was young.

“I remember a tittering of laughter ripple around the table,” Lasseter wrote.

By tracing the lineage of his family, Lasseter found a 72-year-old woman named Elon Osby, that his ancestors might have enslaved, according to Reuters. He found this woman and apologized to her for his ancestors possibly enslaving her ancestors.

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