“They said she was the daughter of a slave.”
“Wait a minute, Papi!”
I was on the phone with my father, talking about connections to relatives we had discovered through our Ancestry DNA testing. My father is from Yauco, Puerto Rico. He came to live in New York during his early teen years, but he always talks about his relatives and his memories of Puerto Rico.
I grew up knowing about Cayetano Canchani, my father’s maternal great-grandfather, a jeweler who came from Naples, Italy, and settled in Puerto Rico. I also knew about my father’s maternal grandmother, Maria Canchani y Ramirez, Cayetano’s daughter. Maria “cooked for rich people” in Yauco and every day would bring her family leftover food to eat.
“She was very dark with long hair.” My father and mother would describe her, never being able to conclude if she was Black or a Native from the island, or both. Continue reading All you need to do is ask!