The 5 Black US Presidents
Jim Blair

If you think - as popular ethnology thoughout the ages, not to mention the US census, has assumed - that anyone who has any 'black blood' counts as black, you should find the following exchange from usenet, compiled by Big Issue Ground author Jim Blair, interesting. You can explore the topic in further detail by buying a popular $4 pamplet on the subject from

I recently was informed that there were black presidents before George Washington and the book "Five Black Presidents" was a good source of information. However, I can't find it anywhere. So, I just wanted to know if there where black presidents before G.W. Thanks, ED

The book was published in 1965 by the noted historian J.A. Rogers. Actually only four Presidents of Afrikan ancestry are identified in the book. They are: 1) Thomas Jefferson 2) Andrew Jackson 3) Abraham Lincoln 4) Warren G. Harding

The 5th was not named in the book at that time. Even though the evidence was strong, at the time of the writing of the book, it was not conclusive that Eisenhower is/was the fifth one.

It is also asserted that Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin, was known to have "black blood" in him. In addition, Alexander Hamilton is said to be the son of a woman, Rachel Fawcett, who had "mixed Blood".


I picked this book up a few years ago and found it quite interesting. It was written by a contemporary black woman with a Ph.D. in black history or something and partly based on J.A. Rogers booklet which was published under a similar title much earlier. J.A. Rogers, of course, is the great self-taught black historian/sociologist. The later book is a small press one that probably did have a substantial first printing. I saw it once in a black book store and never again anywhere else.

I found all but two of the arguments weak, speculative, mainly. Then, of course, there was Warren Harding, the worst President ever who particularly admitted he had a black ancestor: "I honestly can't say who my grand-daddy went to the woodpile with". And then the stunner - Dwight Eisenhower. The argument presented for him knocked me off my feet. I've been convinced he's black ever since.

The Eisenhower argument was presented straightforward enough. In the Virginia town he was born there were two "Links" families, a white one, and a black one. The question is, which one did his maternal grandfather come from? Eisenhower's maternal grandmother isn't suspect. Her lineage is lily-white as far back as you can go. But this guy who married, Eisenhower's mother had a child with her, then disappeared, is the one. Two other items about this case. Interviews made during the 50s uncovered some very old people who long remembered referring to Eisenhower's mother as "that black Links gal." These people asserted there was never any question about what she was. And finally, the most stunning piece of evidence: a picture of Eisenhower's mother on her wedding day. This picture is included in Eisenhower's auto-biography, "At Ease!" I dropped the book when I saw it. This woman would not have been able to eat in restaurants anywhere in the South before the end of segregation.


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