About a year ago, while scrolling Instagram I bucked up on a post about a notable revolt led by enslaved Blacks in Cuba, 1825 I believe. Immediately, I started to imagine my great grandfather, Eliazer McFarlane, a man physically unknown to this side of his descendants.
Proud, excited and curious, I left a comment sharing the bit I know of our Cuban ancestry. That my grandfather was born in Cuba and left speaking childlike Spanish- to return during his bout of dementia, that his mother was a migrant worker in Cuba where she and Eliazer manifested my favorite Bull, and that Eliazer likely/definitely had many other children because that was the thing Black men have been conditioned to do.
Within minutes, I received a response that led me to Al McFarlane, a storyteller, historian, and CEO/Founder of Insight News, a Minneapolis media outlet sharing news for an audience of diverse racial, social and economic backgrounds. I rushed to google Al, heartened by what would lie on the other side of ignorance.
Y'all, when I tell you my jaw DROPPED! I ran to share the news with Imani. Staring back at me was my grandfather! His Yoruba shaped head, wisdom carved nose, gentle eyes and of course, the surname McFarlane spelled just as Imani and her siblings spell theirs. I had unlocked the door of no return.
While neither Imani or I have taken a DNA test- and honestly still a bit unnerved by the science/what next of our saliva swabbed Q-tips, Al's features are enough for me to draw a leg on our star.
Al and I talk often. More often than relatives whose blood I definitively know resembles mine. He has shared family photos where I easily swap in my aunties. He tells me of my cousin who owns a tequila label and another who is a Kingston based musician. After last week's family video chat- linked below, Al called to thank Imani and I, recapture the reverberation of our words and to my surprise, end with, "I love you."
Catch the replay here