- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Black Relatives of McCain are Voting for Obama

South Florida Times, News Report, Elgin Jones Posted: Oct 23, 2008

In the rural Teoc community of Carroll County, Miss., where the ancestors of Sen. John McCain owned enslaved Africans on a plantation, black, white and mixed-race family members unite every two years for their Coming Home Reunion, on the land where the plantation operated.

Some of McCains black family members say they are not sure exactly where they fall on the family tree, but they do know this: They are either descendants of the McCain family slaves, or of children the McCains fathered with their slaves.

White and black members of the McCain family have met on the plantation several times over the last 15 years, but one invited guest has been conspicuously absent: Sen. John Sidney McCain.

Why he hasnt come is anybodys guess, said Charles McCain Jr., 60, a distant cousin of John McCain who is black. I think the best I can come up with, is that he doesnt have time, or he has just distanced himself, or it doesnt mean that much to him.

Other relatives are not as generous.

Lillie McCain, 56, another distant cousin of John McCain who is black, said the Republican presidential nominee is trying to hide his past, and refuses to accept the familys history.

After hearing him in 2000 claim his family never owned slaves, I sent him an email, she recalled. I told him no matter how much he denies it, it will not make it untrue, and he should accept this and embrace it.

She said the senator never responded to her email.

Although Charles is uncertain who will get his vote for president, several of John McCains black and white relatives are supporting his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama.

I am absolutely supporting Obama, and its not because hes black. Its because he is the best person at this time in our history, said Lillie McCain, a professor of psychology at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan.

We simply need to look at the economy, and McCains campaign does not take us there, said Joyce McCain, Lillies sister, a retired engineering manager with General Motors who lives in Grand Blanc, Michigan. He is my cousin, but we are in dire times right now and people are hurting. Sen. Obama is clearly the best choice to be president.

Charles McCain and his wife, Theresa, who still live in Teoc, started the reunions over a decade ago. Charles is the deacon of Mitchell Springs Baptist Church, the only black house of worship in the area.

When Theresa McCain started the family reunions in the late 1980s or early 90s (neither he nor his wife is sure of the exact starting date), only black family members attended. But as word spread about the gatherings, white members of the McCain family got involved. Today, the reunion has expanded to the point where it is becoming a community event.

The reunions website, teocfamilyreunion.ning.com, has pictures, postings and other information about the family gatherings. While Sen. McCains brother, Joe, and many of his other white relatives attend the reunions, family members say Sen. McCain has never acknowledged them, or even responded to their invitations.

Well, a lot of the people who had moved away and were living up north, would send money to help us maintain the church, said Theresa McCain, 62. Myself and others began inviting them back home for picnics, just to show our appreciation.

The McCain campaign did not respond to repeated questions about John McCains black relatives, or about his relatives of both races who support Obama. Pablo Carrillo, a media liaison with the McCain campaign, said the senator was aware of his African-American relatives, but asked the reporter to put his questions into writing, and that someone would get back to him.

After the reporter sent questions in writing, and made repeated follow-up phone calls, neither Sen. McCain nor anyone else from the campaign responded.

Based on information obtained by the South Florida Times, the senator has numerous black and mixed-raced relatives who were born on, or in, the area of the McCain plantation. The mixed races in the family can be traced back to the rural Teoc community of Carroll County, Miss., where his family owned slaves.

Sen. John McCains great, great grandfather, William Alexander McCain (1812-1863), fought for the Confederacy and owned a 2,000-acre plantation named Waverly in Teoc. The family dealt in the slave trade, and, according to official records, held at least 52 slaves on the familys plantation. The enslaved Africans were likely used as servants, for labor, and for breeding more slaves.

William McCains son, and Sen. John McCains great grandfather, John Sidney McCain (1851-1934), eventually assumed the duty of running the familys plantation.

W.A. Bill McCain IV, a white McCain cousin, and his wife Edwina, are the current owners of the land. Both told the South Florida Times that they attend the reunions. They also said the McCain campaign had asked them not to speak to the media about the reunions, or about why the senator has never acknowledged the family gatherings.

In addition to distancing himself from his black family members, John McCain has taken several positions on issues that have put him at odds with members of the larger black community.

While running for the Republican Party nomination in 2000, he sided with protesters who were calling for the rebel battle flag to be removed from the South Carolina statehouse, only to alter that position later.

"Some view it as a symbol of slavery. Others view it as a symbol of heritage, John McCain said of the flag. "Personally, I see the battle flag as a symbol of heritage. I have ancestors who have fought for the Confederacy, none of whom owned slaves. I believe they fought honorably.

Novelist Elizabeth Spencer, another white cousin of John McCain, noted the slaves the family owned in the familys memoirs, Landscapes of the Heart. Sen. McCain has acknowledged reading the book, but claims to have only glossed over entries about their slaves.

Thats crazy, said Spencer, who also attends the reunions in Teoc. No one had to tell us, because we all knew about the slaves. I may not vote, because I dont want anyone to think that I have an issue with John, but I dont want to see him become president because I think Obama is entirely adequate, and its time for a Democrat.

Spencer acknowledged donating money to the Obama campaign and to what she called Democratic causes.

Sen. John McCain was born in 1936 at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station, a segregated military installation in the Panama Canal, where his father was stationed in the U.S. Navy. His family returned to the states shortly after his birth; where he went on to attend segregated schools in the Teoc community and elsewhere around the country.

He served in the Navy, where he was a prisoner of war during Vietnam, before being released and eventually running for Congress.

After he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, McCain voted against the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday in 1983. When he arrived in the U.S. Senate in 1986, he joined North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms in opposing the holiday again, and voted in 1994 to cut funding to the commission that marketed it.

John McCain also aligned himself with former Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham.

Mecham was the governor in McCains home state of Arizona from January 1987 to April 1988, when he was impeached and removed from office for campaign finance violations. As a state senator and governor, Mecham publicly used racial slurs against black people and other minorities. He was also a member of the John Birch Society, which opposes civil rights legislation. In 1986, Mecham campaigned for governor on a promise to rescind the states recognition of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, which he did in 1987.

Earlier this year, during the 40th anniversary recognition of Kings assassination, McCain, by this time a presidential candidate, said he was wrong for opposing the national King holiday.

Politics in America has long been steeped in the dynamics of the countrys myriad cultures, diverse ethnicities, and varying religious beliefs. Several of Sen. McCains black relatives say Obamas candidacy represents progress.

He is denying his black and white relatives in Teoc, said Joyce McCain, 54. I think he may not want the country to know his familys full history, but times have changed and we need to move on, and thats why Im supporting Obama.

Related Articles:

Obamamania Conquers to the World

The Third Times Not the Charm for John McCain

McCain's Stuck Narrative

How McCain Became MacBeth


Page 1 of 1

-->




Advertisement


ADVERTISEMENT


Just Posted

NAM Coverage

U.S. Politics