Sharpton, Thurmond May Be Closer Than You’d Think

The Associated Press reports on Al Sharpton’s reaction to the news that one of his ancestors was a slave of late South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond’s first cousin, twice removed:

“It was probably the most shocking thing in my life,” Sharpton said at news conference Sunday, the same day the [New York Daily News] revealed the story.

The professional genealogists, who work for, found that Sharpton’s great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, was a slave owned by Julia Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom Thurmond’s great-great-grandfather. Coleman Sharpton was later freed.

“Based on the paper trail, it seems pretty evident that the connection is there,” said Mike Ward, a genealogist with Ward called the link “amazing.”

The revelations surfaced after contacted a Daily News reporter who agreed to have his own family tree done. The intrigued reporter then turned around and asked Sharpton if he wanted to participate. Sharpton said he told the paper, “Go for it.”

Given the younger Thurmond’s known enthusiasm for miscegeny, and the widespread practice thereof under slavery, TigerHawk is probably right to wonder, “Are Al Sharpton and Strom Thurmond cousins?”

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Race and Politics, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Chris Lawrence
About Chris Lawrence
Chris teaches political science at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia. He has a Ph.D. in political science (with concentrations in American politics and political methodology) from the University of Mississippi. He began writing for OTB in June 2006. Follow him on Twitter @lordsutch.


  1. “Are Al Sharpton and Strom Thurmond cousins?”

    How ironic it would be if they are.

  2. Christopher says:

    Chris Lawrence, you are SICK.