Ben Affleck’s family owned 33 slaves, including one named Tobe

Photo credit: Instagram @BenAffleck During a 2010 trip to the Congolese with his organization Eastern Congo.

Ben Affleck drew backlash a few months ago after it was discovered that he convinced Dr. Henry Louis Gates to censor an important fact about his past. After filming Gates’ PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” Afflect requested that Gates omit footage that revealed his ancestors’ slave-owning past.

After a discussion with Sony executives, Gates eventually decided to edit the section out. But the email was leaked during the Sony scandal and the entire ordeal became public.

According to research by the Associated Press, Affleck’s family owned more than 30 slaves. Affleck’s great-great-great grandfather, Benjamin L. Cole, inherited 24 slaves from a family member after she died in Chatham County, Georgia, in 1858. Affleck’s mother is a descendant of Cole.

Another relative, James McGuire, owned eight slaves while living in Trenton, New Jersey, in the 1840s. Affleck’s father is a descendent of McGuire. Affleck’s sixth great grandfather, Nathaniel Stanley, owned a slave named Tobe in 1728. Coincidentally, Tobe was the slave name given to Levar Burton’s character, Kunta Kinte, during the defiant scene in the film Roots.

Affleck apologized for wanting to omit his family’s history from the PBS program and said that he was “embarrassed” by his family’s horrid slave-owning past.

However, the revelation serves as a reminder of how slavery continues to affect American lives today.

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