Anderson Cooper’s Amazing Reaction To Finding Out A Slave Killed His Ancestor With A Farm Hoe (VIDEO)

While exploring his family’s history for a PBS program, Anderson Cooper was forced to confront an inconvenient fact: his distant ancestor, his fourth great grandfather, owned slaves. A lot of slaves. One of which murdered him with a farm hoe.

Finding Your Roots is the always interesting show that digs around court records, census reports and other documents to gain insight into the family histories of celebrities – usually resulting in lots of crying. But when Harvard professor and show host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. told Cooper about the untimely demise of his great-great-great-great grandfather there was little sympathy.

“Burel Boykin,” Cooper reads. “Cause of death: Killed by negro.”

Gates fills in the picture. “Boykin was murdered by a rebellious slave. Your ancestor was beaten to death with a farm hoe.”

Cooper admits he’s “blown away” by the finding, but doesn’t seem too concerned about the slave-owning Boykin, or his brutal death. When Gates asks him if he thought his ancestor deserved it, Cooper had no hesitation.

“Yeah. I have no doubt.” Later adding: “He had twelve slaves, I don’t feel bad for him. Honestly, part of me thinks that’s awesome.”

He also admitted that who he really felt bad for was the man who killed him, and the 11 other unnamed slaves that his ancestor owned in the 19th century.

History doesn’t record what happened to the 11 other slaves, but the one who killed Cooper’s ancestor was hanged without a trail. Gates noted that Cooper’s dark family history had a perfect example of how the slaves of that time found ways to rebel “in small ways with devastating personal consequences.”

It’s worth thinking about Cooper’s ancestor and the man who killed him the next time a pundit or politician tries to insinuate that African Americans were better off during slavery and mostly content with their role as the subjugated. History, marred in violence and small acts of rebellion, tells a very different story. Cooper’s own history is proof of that discord.