Silvey's story is the kind that gifted and talented writers like Paulette Brown Williams, writer of "Colored Girls" neither consider or know how to write, ... choosing instead wanderings of the mind depicted in her money-making play about fictional Black women.
As a free spirit in our journey up the mountain, ... she also chose an African name for herself and reminding us that our ancestors had names before coming to America.
Her father, Dr. Paul Williams, a African-American surgeon in Trenton, New Jersey obviously spent a lot of money in her education at prestigious schools; ... but the good doctor perhaps did not spend enough time motivating her to help "the least of us" with interest in real "Colored Girls" like ancestors in the path up from slavery, who did not commit suicide. Why? Were they happy?
We wish we knew more about the character of our unknown ancestral mother that we believe was likely born in Africa and hauled into slavery in Virginia. We have decided to rename her as "Silvey the African" because Charles and Adaline Kyle named their first-born daughter Silvey, presumably in memory of his grandmother (big mama) or favorite aunt which was a tradition among many Black men after slavery. A review of both 1870, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 and even 1950 and 1960 census data shows a consistent pattern of Black folks, in war and peace, good times and hard times, .......
... naming their children after relatives near and far. But, it all came to an abrupt ending as reflected in census data on African-American motherhood in the 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 census taking and showing far too many "colored girls," not even a hundred years up from slavery, ... returned back down to a rainbow of dysfunctional unions between Black men and women. Writers like our beautiful Paulette can see it.
Black men never used the Hollywood term "Aunty" coined by plantation owners for caring slaves such as portrayed by Hattie McDaniel in the movie "Gone With The Wind;" ... but, rather in the matrilineal traditions of West Africa, (particularly among the Akans of modern-day Ghana), the sister, aunt, cousin or mother of one's biological mother was always referred to as "Nana" which is most commonly and respectfully interchangeable as "Mother or Father."
Many freemen, slaves and ex-slaves named their daughters "Nannie" and believe it was based on their West African heritage rather England wherein child care givers are also called "Nannies" perhaps dating back to the centuries of Africans in England. Our interest is when, where, and why descendents of Africans did not use African given names or surnames when slavery ended or even in the Civil War enlistment processes.
We know the origin of the Kyle surname and White immigrants and descendents in America, but who, why and how did our ancestral mother name her offspring with Anglicized names and the surname of Kyle? Were her children fathered by one of the White Kyle brothers? Who named the sixteen (16) grandsons, born and living on different locations, and escaping to enlist in the U.S. Colored Troops under the surname of Kile/Kyle?
We suspect (as DNA analysis consistently finds to be true) that most enslaved mothers, like that of Betty Hemings, knew who were fathers of their offspring and huge percentage of fathers were White men with opportunities and power to penetrate and impregnate them. And, the sons often sought the truth about their fathers, grand-fathers and even siblings.
The great vulnerable under-belly of chattel slavery in the ante-bellum south was that to keep potentially rebellious young Black males under control, ... slave owners had to keep them under close observation but doing so afforded same youth to observe free White society. Indeed, after chattel slavery was "killed" by the Civil War that ended in 1865 with the absolute defeat and surrender of the rebels, ... most Black men who contemplated or established family ties insisted upon the privilege and right to name their offspring. And, like White men around them, often chose biblical or family linkage names. It was a fundamental right long denied in the long course of slavery in America, and still a challenge today wherein most welfare mothers are empowered to deny fathers any and all privileges and rights common among White and other men.
The names now routinely visualized and given for children by functionally illiterate young mothers is most evident in urban ghetto environments of youth without a clue as to who they are. Too many who have returned to plantation style dependency have any intention of being in union with their offspring's father or father's fathers, ... even those who fought and died that freedom could ring.
Freedom has never been free. And, that of course is the problem with welfare as we knew it established by paid overseers in lieu of working husbands, ... and utter destruction of normal aspirations of normal boys to be their father's sons in war and peace. Without them, ... the rainbow is full of tears.
While it is possible "Silvey the African" was born a slave of enslaved Africans or Africans bred in America, ... it more likely she was purchased from one of the infamous slave auctions of Virginia during the great land grab and westward movement at the beginning of the 19th century.
For certain, we know that at least one of the White Kyle brothers and cousins owned slaves in Virginia. We need more research to define them.
But, we are very confident on the basis of historical realties that Thomas, George and James had a mother and likely even other siblings in the dynamic slave breeding industry that generated:
.... enslaved women as not only laborers and maids but also mothers derisively called "cows" for nursing White children. In the most crude terms of conversation by slave traders, ... young and middle-age fertile slaves in the thirteen to 50 year old age groups were routinely referred to as "bitches" and unborn lives inside them as "pups."
As might be expected, few books and no movies have been published or produced about the grim realities of slave breeding and the kind of activities necessary for it to occur, ... including the practice of designating enslaved men to be studs for lease to impregnate slave women chosen to breed. We do believe that our ancestral mother was likely a pawn in such dynamics if not the wanton lust of owners and sons. It is hard for us to contemplate that her mating occurred as normal relationships between her and chosen sweethearts.
Quite unlike most men who could "sleep in hollow log and drink muddy water" if necessary most women of past years, and even today, value certain amounts of privacy above all else and slave owner's were clever to encourage slave breeding by assuring young women their own cabin and rations if they gave birth to more slaves.
It did not matter whether or not she loved the father of her children but rather the ability to get pregnant and raise slave offspring up to the age of valuable labor, ... about age six years or more where after they could be sold down river to places like Louisiana and Mississippi where slaves fetched superior prices for both labor and pleasure of the owners. It appears from information gained so far, the grandmother of Charles Kyle, whoever she was, ... had children born and sold away from her into slavery and likely never seen again.
For those of us descended from this unknown woman of African heritage who labored, gave birth to offspring in the vicinity of Roanoke/Salem, Virginia, ... it matters that she lived and so long as we believe her life was meaningful to our own existence the unknown grave in which she was buried has no victory over her or us.
Our speculation is that she likely was induced and seduced to give birth to at least ten children since most slave owners agreed and sought to generate the magic market goal of 15 offspring per fertile slave mothers also often derisively referred to by other slaves as "cows, heifers, etc." We have hard data on three of her sons and assume many others were born and sold, ... like animals.
Offspring below is compiled based on known information from Civil War records, family oral histories and the data gathered by Mormon Church based on the 1880 census. A need exists for much more census data and file reviews.
with questions or comments about this web site.