Paula Deen ‘Shocked’ to Learn Her Family Owned Slaves
On the season finale of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are, Paula Deen discovered that her great great great great-grandfather, John Batts, was a slave owner. Deen, who was born, raised and still lives in Georgia, found that Batts, a politician and plantation owner, was very wealthy — and a hefty portion of his assets were slaves.
Dr. Bob Wilson, a professor of history at Georgia College, showed Deen a document showing that Batts was part of a movement trying to get Georgia to support Democratic candidate John Breckenridge for president. Breckenridge was running on a pro-slavery platform; whereas Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate, was against the expansion of slavery. Dr. Wilson showed Deen 1860 census records, showing that Batts was incredibly rich for his time. Deen also perused a Slave Inhabitants document, which detailed how many slaves John Batts owned: Thirty-five, some of them 8 and 11-year-old children....
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