Immigration rally

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Immigrants like us

Family stories

We never knew much about my father's side of the family, but on my mother's side we knew a lot. My Calhoun relatives are descended from Vice President John C. Cal­houn, who is known for his outspoken support of slavery and for having inspired the southern secessionists of 1860-61. It took me a while to realize that the rest of the world didn't see history in quite the way my family did.

For example, I was taught that only very ignorant and un­educated people ever spoke of the Civil War. That was an oxymoron because John C. Calhoun, who died in 1850, would have favored secession from the Union; it could not be a civil war because there were two separate nations. It should be called, by people of education and distinction, the War Between the States or the War of Northern Ag­gression.

As a student I came to resent our family heritage. I was not proud of being descended from someone who was the standard-bearer for slavery and therefore on the wrong side of a great moral issue in our nation's history.


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