Tracing lives of three ‘white’ families and their black forebears
By Dan Cryer, Globe Correspondent / February 20, 2011
"Randall Lee Gibson, an urbane, Yale-educated Confederate general, mocked black people as “the most degraded of all races of men.’’ Later, as a US senator from Louisiana, he helped broker the end of Reconstruction, freeing the South to harass and lynch blacks virtually at will.
In the 20th century, his orphaned son, Preston, was raised by an aunt and her husband, who had been a justice on the US Supreme Court that legitimated racial segregation in the infamous case of Plessy v. Ferguson.
At the beginning of the 21st century, a rent-a-car employee and genealogy buff dubbed himself Sir Thomas Murphy after tracing his mother’s lineage...