She always had a hunch!
After six decades apart, a Georgia woman was recently united with her long-lost family, discovering her true identity, WRDW reports.
Diane Spencer-Carr was just a child when her father moved their family out of Milwaukee into the country. Spencer’s mother was white, and her father, a light-skinned man with rosy cheeks, always told everyone, including his family, that he was Portuguese.
"I was more or less led on to believe I was white,” Spencer-Carr told WTKR. "I have tighter-curled hair, I looked different from my other siblings."
When she searched online she found information about her father's racial identity from decades prior.
"When he registered for the selective service in 1944, he would take that card and change 'B' for black to 'W' and just move on, and nobody questioned it," Spencer-Carr said. "He had always been on the Census, back in the early days, as 'negro.'"
Although he passed for white and denied Spencer-Carr a chance to meet her family as a child, she believes he had his reasons.
"He, I believe, did it with good intentions,” Spencer-Carr told reporters. “I think during the tumultuous times in the Civil Rights era where I grew up in the city of Milwaukee, in particularly 1968, I was about 12 or 13, there were riots going on all over the country."
She added, “Through the ‘50s and ‘60s in Milwaukee, there were a lot of racial issues.”
She always felt weird that she never met her father’s family growing up and always felt there was more to her identity, having a strong feeling that she might be Black. When her father passed away in 1999, she and her daughter began searching to find her paternal biological family.
“We knew there was family out there. We knew he had to come from a father and a mother. But we didn’t know the depth of it,” Spencer-Carr said.
A thorough search on ancestry.com revealed that she had family on her father’s side, a whole slew of relatives she never knew existed. She also confirmed what she felt all of those years, that she was indeed a mixed race Black person.
“It was like being reborn sort of,” Spencer-Carr said.
During her online search, she located a cousin named Karen Spencer, one of several cousins Spencer-Carr found residing in Hampton, VA. Spencer expressed her initial shock when her long lost cousin called wanting to talk.
"I get a call that there's a girl claiming she's my uncle Milton's daughter,” Spencer said. “I go into shock, my sisters are there."
Spencer-Carr and her cousin Karen spoke and shared stories from their lives, finally having the chance to bond.
"More than enough proof that she belonged to the Spencer tribe, as my father said,” Spencer said. "She showed up right on time."
This past Juneteenth, at 64-years-old, Spencer-Carr traveled to Virginia to finally meet her new family and celebrate the holiday.
“It was the first time in my life that I was able to celebrate it as a Black woman in my Black family,” she said.
Spencer-Carr revealed that not even her mother knew that her father was Black. She has made peace with it and forgives him for not telling their family sooner. She surmises that he did it to protect them.
“I try to reason with it as a parent, and of course, I forgive them for that. It was about protecting me and my brother. So it was all about love, in that case, I believe. Our faith tells us that this was the right time. If it had happened sooner, maybe it wouldn’t have been so great,” she said.
Photo Courtesy of WRDW Karen (L), Diane (R)