One of the many things school didn’t teach us about Black History month was that George Washington had a illegitimate black son with a slave nammed Venus named West Ford. According to Westfordlegacy:
1785 West Ford, the son of George Washington and Venus, is born in Westmoreland County, VA.
1799 George Washington dies at his Mount Vernon plantation.
1802 West Ford comes to Mount Vernon with new owner, Bushrod Washington. West becomes caretaker of George Washington’s tomb and is befriended by Washington’s old valet, Billy Lee.
1804 West Ford is freed on his 21st birthday; his portrait is drawn to commemorate the occasion.
1812 West Ford marries Priscilla Bell, a free woman, they have four children; William, Daniel, Jane and Julia. The children are educated on the Mount Vernon plantation.
1829 Bushrod Washington dies and wills 160 acres of land to West Ford. John Augustine Washington III inherits Mount Vernon. West works at Mount Vernon as an overseer. Venus dies a slave before West can buy her freedom.
1833 West Ford sells his land and purchases 214 acres adjacent to it; the area is known today as Gum Springs.
1994 A National Enquirer article speculating upon whom should be heir to the U.S. “throne” left vacant by George Washington results in the Allen/Ford family reuniting with another branch of the Ford family through descendant Dr. Judy Saunders Burton.
1996 The Allen/Ford family goes public with the story of George Washington in their family tree; articles appear in Newsweek, Time, and Der Spiegel magazines.
1998 The Washington/Venus story breaks in every major newspaper in the U.S. Feature stories are carried in the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Peoria Journal Star, Rocky Mountain News, Foster’s Daily Democrat, Newsday, Waterloo Courier, Boston Globe, and USA Today. A number of television broadcasts carry the story as well, including live feature stories on MSMBC and Channel 9 Denver, Colorado; mentions on major city networks including CNN, BET, and Saturday Night Live. The story is also featured on several live feature radio broadcasts including WGN, Sheridan Broadcasting Network, KACT Los Angeles, and BBC London.
2000 The West Ford story ushers in the new millenium with a new website and media interest continuing to grow. To date this year the story has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning News, in the Chicago Tribune and Rocky Mountain News. Other print articles and television broadcasts are in the works. In March, a historic meeting took place at Mount Vernon between members of the Ford family and Mount Vernon staff. In May, PBS broadcasted a docu*entary featuring the Ford history and posted a mini-docu*entary called George and Venus that still can be seen on the worldwide web.
2001 Ford descendant Linda Allen Bryant publishes I Cannot Tell a Lie: The True Story of George Washington’s African American Descendants.” The book is the first to explore her family’s controversial history. The History Channel features the Ford family history in a docu*entary called Family Tree in September. Exploration into the saga of West ford and the African-American descendants of George Washington is ongoing. And the story continues….