DNA is destroying the artificial construct of race. The oldest known skeleton found in England is of a dark skinned man with blue eyes. Which means lighter skin developed much much more recently than previously believed…By about 30,000 years.
‘It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories we have… are not applicable to the past at all,’ said one project worker.
The first person known to have lived in Britain had dark skin, according to cutting-edge scientific analysis from London’s Natural History Museum.
In research that may raise eyebrows among modern-day white nationalists, scientists used DNA analysis from Britain’s oldest nearly complete skeleton to reveal he had dark skin and blue eyes.
The skeleton was discovered in 1903 and is known as Cheddar Man, after the area where he was found, which is also where the cheese originated. He’s believed to have lived more than 10,000 years ago and is the oldest Briton to have ever had their DNA tested—with some surprising results.
The research suggests that light skin developed in ancient Britons much later than previously thought, with experts commenting that it flies in the face of modern perceptions of Britain, Europe, and race.
Tom Booth, a Natural History Museum archaeologist who worked on the project, told The Guardian: “It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions, or very recent constructions, that really are not applicable to the past at all.”
Yoan Diekmann, a biologist at University College London and another project worker, added that the connection drawn by some between Britishness and whiteness was “not an immutable truth. It has always changed and will change.”
The discovery is embarrassing for white nationalists such as Richard Spencer, who has previously linked whiteness to Europe, saying previously that he wanted the U.S. to become “a homeland for all white people, all European people.”
According to the scientists who ran the project, it was previously assumed that Europeans developed paler skin thousands of years before Cheddar Man and he was previously believed to have had pale skin and fair hair.
However, they believe the research shows that the lighter pigmentation in Europeans is a “far more recent” phenomenon and that one in 10 modern-day Brits share ancestry with the dark-skinned Cheddar Man.
Scientists obtained the DNA sample by drilling a 2mm hole in the ancient skull, which allowed them to extract some bone powder. Using the “unusually well-preserved” DNA, they then constructed a likeness of his head using a 3D printer and a high-tech scanner.
Prof. Chris Stringer, a research leader at the Natural History Museum, said: “I first studied Cheddar Man more than 40 years ago, but could never have believed that we would one day have his whole genome—the oldest British one to date!”
“To go beyond what the bones tell us and get a scientifically based picture of what he actually looked like is a remarkable (and from the results quite surprising!) achievement.”
Seems one escaped slave ..really escaped to a new world!
Hans Jonatan, who escaped slavery in 1802, now has hundreds of relatives in the country.
Hans Jonatan was born into slavery on a Caribbean sugar plantation, and he died in a small Icelandic fishing village. In those intervening 43 years, he fought for the Danish Navy in the Napoleonic Wars, lost a landmark case for his freedom in The General’s Widow v. the Mulatto, then somehow escaped to become a peasant farmer on the Nordic island.
No one knows how he got there. No one knows where in Iceland he is buried today. But the story of the first black man in Iceland, as far as it is known, has endured in local lore, passed down from his Icelandic wife and two children to hundreds of descendants since his death in 1827.
“The old East Fjords people would often say, ‘Oh, yes, you’re descended from the black man,’” one living descendant told Gísli Pálsson in his biography of Jonatan, The Man Who Stole Himself.
Today, Jonatan’s descendants mostly lack the dark skin and curly hair that so obviously marked him as the son of a black mother, an enslaved woman named Emilia Regina, and a white father, identity unknown. But bits of his DNA live on inside his great-great-great-great grandsons and granddaughters, and it is possible, scientists have now shown, to reconstruct parts of his genome from his living descendants. And with that, it is also possible to trace his mother’s ancestry in Africa.
It could only have happened in Iceland. The country’s small and genetically homogeneous population is largely descendants of settlers who arrived from Scandinavia and the British Isles a millennium ago. This, along with, detailed genealogy records tracking centuries of family relationships, have made Iceland a genetics laboratory. The biopharmaceutical company DeCODE Genetics, whose scientists helped carry out the study of Jonatan’s genome, has also analyzed DNA from more than half of Iceland’s adult population—including 182 of Jonatan’s living descendants.
Humans share some 99.5 percent of their DNA with each other, so it is in that other 0.5 percent where geneticists go looking for variations distinguishing one group from one another. In the relatively homogeneous Icelandic background, it was easy to find the African sequences. “If you’re sequencing an Icelander, you will find about one variant per million bases that is not found in any other Icelander. But you go and sequence into the African part [of the genome], you will find at least 100 variants,” says Kári Stefánsson, the CEO of DeCODE.
No single descendant carries all of Jonatan’s original genome. But each carry a small part of it. So the team stitched together sequences found in 182 different descendants to recreate 38 percent of the African half of his genome—presumably the half that came from his mother. The sequences most closely matched present-day populations in Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon. There are few records about Jonatan’s mother, who was also born into slavery in the Caribbean, so this may be the only hint to her and her ancestors’ origins.
“It’s the writing of history with DNA, basically,” says Hannes Schroeder, an archaeologist at the University of Copenhagen who has used DNA to trace the origins of enslaved Africans. Schroeder was also a coordinator of EUROTAST, an interdisciplinary project studying the slave trade that helped fund the reconstruction of Hans Jonatan’s genome.
Jonatan’s life story was unique, and the methods used to study his DNA may prove unique, too. It would be difficult to reconstruct the genome of any single enslaved African in regions where many of them lived and their DNA mixed together in their descendants. “It’s definitely a special case because of Iceland,” says Schroeder. “The same project wouldn’t have been possible in, say, France.”
or similar reasons, it’s almost impossible to reconstruct the European half of Jonatan’s genome—the half that came from his unknown white father. Kirsten Pflomm, a descendent of Jonatan, says this is the question she hopes DNA can answer. You actually would not need to reconstruct a genome to prove Jonatan’s paternity; you would just need to obtain a DNA sample from potential fathers or their descendants for comparison. Pálsson’s biography suggests suggests Jonatan’s father could have been a secretary named Hans Gram—or Jonatan’s master, Ludvig Schimmelmann, or a certain Count Moltke.
Pflomm, who is American, lives in Copenhagen. When she moved to the city for a job, she was astonished to find that her apartment is across the street from Amaliegade 23, where Jonatan was living when he escaped to Iceland. Pflomm eventually hopes to make it to the small Icelandic fishing village where Jonatan lived out his days—by every account an upstanding citizen. “He seems like a guy I really wish I could have met,” she says.
You got to see this to believe it!
Kansas state Republican lawmaker resurrected a Jim Crow myth that African Americans are genetically predisposed to handle marijuana more poorly than other races during a speech over the weekend.
As the Garden City Telegram reported, State Rep. Steve Alford (R) told an all-white crowd that marijuana was criminalized during the prohibition era in the 1930’s primarily because of black marijuana use when asked a question by a member of the local Democratic party about potential economic boons from cannabis legalization.
“What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas (and) across the United States,” Alford said. “What was the reason why they did that? One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that.”
As the Telegram noted in their report, Alford’s comments referenced a belief promoted by marijuana prohibitionist Harry Anslinger, the founding commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
“Under Anslinger’s leadership, the FBN came to be considered responsible for the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937,” the report noted, “regulating cannabis and further taxing it to the ultimate detriment of the hemp industry that was booming at the time.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” Anslinger said once when explaining why marijuana supposedly caused crime and violence. The commissioner also fought for the prohibition of cannabis due to “its effect on the degenerate races,” the Telegram noted.
If you have never seen the film – here is a colorized version of the 1936 propaganda film “Reefer Madness”. BYO Popcorn!
Every few years the invisible black confederate story recirculates among the neo-confederate types.
Every time they wind up empty.
Hope the bill passes to memorialize Robert Smalls! Small would later serve in the US Congress until 1886.
The justification for building a monument to black Confederate soldiers is crumbling as historians point out there’s no evidence such combatants ever existed.
State Rep. Bill Chumley (R-Woodruff) and state Rep. Mike Burns (R-Taylors) pre-filed a bill last month that would establish a commission to design an African-American Confederate veterans monument, reported The State.
The bill would also require public schools to teach the contributions of black people toward the Confederate cause, and Chumley said his proposal had already accomplished his goal even as historians undermine its intent.
“We are all learning a lot,” Chumley said. “The purpose of the bill is education.”
The State reviewed pension records from 1923 that show three blacks claimed armed service in South Carolina units under the Confederacy, with two of them confirmed as cooks or servants and none for armed service.
“In all my years of research, I can say I have seen no documentation of black South Carolina soldiers fighting for the Confederacy,” said historian Walter Edgar, the longtime director of the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Southern Studies. “In fact, when secession came, the state turned down free (blacks) who wanted to volunteer because they didn’t want armed persons of color.
Edgar, who wrote a history of the state, said any black person who served in a Confederate unit in South Carolina was either a slave or an unpaid laborer working against his will.
South Carolina forbid blacks from carrying weapons during most of the Civil War out of fear of a slave revolt, but the Confederacy did allow black soldiers in the final months of the doomed rebellion.
State Sen. Darrell Jackson (D-Columbia), a black Democrat, and state Sen. Greg Gregory (R-Columbia), a white Republican, filed a separate proposal to memorialize Robert Smalls, who hijacked a Confederate supply ship in 1862 and turned it over to the Union.
He went on to become a state legislator and five-term congressman.
If the monument is built, it would be the first on Statehouse grounds to honor an individual African-American.
Nice move, Memphis!
In a rapidly emerging war between municipalities, the Trump administration and white-wing, neo fascist Republican dominated legislators opposed to local rule…
Another mile marker.
The city of Memphis engaged in a “massive operation” on Wednesday to take down two controversial Confederate statues before the morning light, the Commercial Appealreports.
The Memphis City Council first unanimously voted to sell two public parks to a private entity. Within minutes, Memphis Police Department officers had deployed to the sites of statues honoring Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Within one hour of the vote, Mayor Jim Strickland had signed the ordinance.
The sale of the parks was a legal mechanism to circumvent a decision by the Tennessee Historical Commission intended to prevent local governments from taking down the statues.
“Health Sciences Park and Memphis Park have been sold. Operations on those sites tonight are being conducted by a private entity and are compliant with state law,” Mayor Strickland explained. “We will have further updates later tonight.”