Oct 17 2008
Lillie McCain

Lillie McCain: John McCain’s Black Half of the “Family”

In between jabs during last night’s roast, John McCain took a minute to acknowledge Barack Obama’s historic run for president. We are watching those soon to be ruffled pages being written as we speak, but the racism that would have prevented Barack Obama from even thinking of becoming president isn’t that far gone. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the social map really started to change. Ironically, John McCain is tied tighter to the historical implications than I was aware of. John McCain’s great-great grandfather owned a cotton plantation with 120 slaves. The woman in the picture is Lillie McCain, a descendant of Isom McCain, who was forced to take on the McCain name and work on the grounds.

In the Wall Street Journal’s “Two Families Named McCain”, Don Blackmon writes.. “The case of the McCains offers another quintessential American narrative in black and white. For the black McCain family, it is a story of triumph over the legacy of slavery; for the white McCains, it is the evolution of a 19th-century cotton dynasty into one rooted in an ethic of military and national service.”

It’s not all whips and chains. Blackmon adds.. “The McCains in the early 20th century were known among African-Americans for relatively equitable treatment of their workers and tenants, especially compared with the abuses happening on many other farms. A visitor to the plantation in 1923 published an account that described ‘a tradition and a policy of fair dealing between planter and laborer.’”

Here’s a genealogical chart, but you need video.

Mary McCain Fluker

Where’s the triumph in the black McCain’s story?

“Lillie McCain earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Wayne State University in Detroit. Her sister Mrs. Fluker retired after a career as special-education teacher in the public schools from which she once was barred. Joyce McCain became a production executive at General Motors. Delbra McCain Roberts became a registered nurse. Charles Jr. taught bricklaying in the high school. The eldest child, George, became the first black fire chief in the town of Greenwood.”

Despite the ‘family’ ties → Lillie and all of her siblings say they support Sen. Obama for president.

☼ What's Your Opinion? ☼

1 elgin jones Fri, Oct 17, 2008 - 4:08 pm

I broke this story, prior to the WSJ, Here is the real deal:

Some of McCain’s Black Family Members Support Obama


In the rural Teoc community of Carroll County, Miss., where the ancestors of Sen. John McCain owned enslaved Africans on a plantation, black, white and mixed-race family members unite every two years for their Coming Home Reunion, on the land where the plantation operated.

Some of McCain’s black family members say they are not sure exactly where they fall on the family tree, but they do know this: They are either descendants of the McCain family slaves, or of children the McCains fathered with their slaves.

White and black members of the McCain family have met on the plantation several times over the last 15 years, but one invited guest has been conspicuously absent: Sen. John Sidney McCain.

“Why he hasn’t come is anybody’s guess,” said Charles McCain Jr., 60, a distant cousin of John McCain who is black. “I think the best I can come up with, is that he doesn’t have time, or he has just distanced himself, or it doesn’t mean that much to him.”

Other relatives are not as generous.

Lillie McCain, 56, another distant cousin of John McCain who is black, said the Republican presidential nominee is trying to hide his past, and refuses to accept the family’s history.

“After hearing him in 2000 claim his family never owned slaves, I sent him an email,” she recalled. “I told him no matter how much he denies it, it will not make it untrue, and he should accept this and embrace it.”

She said the senator never responded to her email.

Although Charles is uncertain who will get his vote for president, several of John McCain’s black and white relatives are supporting his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama.

“I am absolutely supporting Obama, and it’s not because he’s black. It’s because he is the best person at this time in our history,” said Lillie McCain, a professor of psychology at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan.

“We simply need to look at the economy, and McCain’s campaign does not take us there,” said Joyce McCain, Lillie’s sister, a retired engineering manager with General Motors who lives in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

“He is my cousin, but we are in dire times right now and people are hurting. Sen. Obama is clearly the best choice to be president.’’

Charles McCain and his wife, Theresa, who still live in Teoc, started the reunions over a decade ago. Charles is the deacon of Mitchell Springs Baptist Church, the only black house of worship in the area.

When Theresa McCain started the family reunions in the late 1980s or early ‘90s (neither he nor his wife is sure of the exact starting date), only black family members attended. But as word spread about the gatherings, white members of the McCain family got involved.

Today, the reunion has expanded to the point where it is becoming a community event.

The reunion’s website, teocfamilyreunion.ning.com, has pictures, postings and other information about the family gatherings.

While Sen. McCain’s brother, Joe, and many of his other white relatives attend the reunions, family members say Sen. McCain has never acknowledged them, or even responded to their invitations.

“Well, a lot of the people who had moved away and were living up north, would send money to help us maintain the church,” said Theresa McCain, 62. “Myself and others began inviting them back home for picnics, just to show our appreciation.”

The McCain campaign did not respond to repeated questions about John McCain’s black relatives, or about his relatives of both races who support Obama.

Pablo Carrillo, a media liaison with the McCain campaign, said the senator was aware of his African-American relatives, but asked the reporter to put his questions into writing, and that someone would get back to him.

After the reporter sent questions in writing, and made repeated follow-up phone calls, neither Sen. McCain nor anyone else from the campaign responded.

Based on information obtained by the South Florida Times, the senator has numerous black and mixed-raced relatives who were born on, or in, the area of the McCain plantation.

The mixed races in the family can be traced back to the rural Teoc community of Carroll County, Miss., where his family owned slaves.

Sen. John McCain’s great, great grandfather, William Alexander McCain (1812-1863), fought for the Confederacy and owned a 2,000-acre plantation named Waverly in Teoc.

The family dealt in the slave trade, and, according to official records, held at least 52 slaves on the family’s plantation. The enslaved Africans were likely used as servants, for labor, and for breeding more slaves.

William McCain’s son, and Sen. John McCain’s great grandfather, John Sidney McCain (1851-1934), eventually assumed the duty of running the family’s plantation.

W.A. “Bill” McCain IV, a white McCain cousin, and his wife Edwina, are the current owners of the land. Both told the South Florida Times that they attend the reunions.

They also said the McCain campaign had asked them not to speak to the media about the reunions, or about why the senator has never acknowledged the family gatherings.

In addition to distancing himself from his black family members, John McCain has taken several positions on issues that have put him at odds with members of the larger black community.

While running for the Republican Party nomination in 2000, he sided with protesters who were calling for the rebel battle flag to be removed from the South Carolina statehouse, only to alter that position later.

“Some view it as a symbol of slavery. Others view it as a symbol of heritage,” John McCain said of the flag. “Personally, I see the battle flag as a symbol of heritage. I have ancestors who have fought for the Confederacy, none of whom owned slaves. I believe they fought honorably.’’

Novelist Elizabeth Spencer, another white cousin of John McCain, noted the slaves the family owned in the family’s memoirs, Landscapes of the Heart. Sen. McCain has acknowledged reading the book, but claims to have only glossed over entries about their slaves.

“That’s crazy,” said Spencer, who also attends the reunions in Teoc. “No one had to tell us, because we all knew about the slaves. I may not vote, because I don’t want anyone to think that I have an issue with John, but I don’t want to see him become president because I think Obama is entirely adequate, and it’s time for a Democrat.’’

Spencer acknowledged donating money to the Obama campaign and to what she called “Democratic causes.”

Sen. John McCain was born in 1936 at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station, a segregated military installation in the Panama Canal, where his father was stationed in the U.S. Navy.

His family returned to the states shortly after his birth; where he went on to attend segregated schools in the Teoc community and elsewhere around the country.

He served in the Navy, where he was a prisoner of war during Vietnam, before being released and eventually running for Congress.

After he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, McCain voted against the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday in 1983. When he arrived in the U.S. Senate in 1986, he joined North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms in opposing the holiday again, and voted in 1994 to cut funding to the commission that marketed it.

John McCain also aligned himself with former Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham.

Mecham was the governor in McCain’s home state of Arizona from January 1987 to April 1988, when he was impeached and removed from office for campaign finance violations.

As a state senator and governor, Mecham publicly used racial slurs against black people and other minorities. He was also a member of the John Birch Society, which opposes civil rights legislation. In 1986, Mecham campaigned for governor on a promise to rescind the state’s recognition of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, which he did in 1987.

Earlier this year, during the 40th anniversary recognition of King’s assassination, McCain, by this time a presidential candidate, said he was wrong for opposing the national King holiday.

Politics in America has long been steeped in the dynamics of the country’s myriad cultures, diverse ethnicities, and varying religious beliefs. Several of Sen. McCain’s black relatives say Obama’s candidacy represents progress.

“He is denying his black and white relatives in Teoc,” said Joyce McCain, 54,. “I think he may not want the country to know his family’s full history, but times have changed and we need to move on, and that’s why I’m supporting Obama.”


2 Above Fri, Oct 17, 2008 - 6:13 pm

Great story! Is anybody shocked at this? He can barely stand to be on the same stage as Barack Obama. The guy definitely dislikes and has no respect for black people, even his own family members, and BLACK republicans need to understand that. He is just using you fools to get your votes just like he is using that idiot Palin to try to get the female vote. He and the republicans have been running scams on all of us but now the time is soon coming to put that scammer down for good. Does anyone think it is funny that now the gas prices are dropping? Does anyone not know that it is because an election is coming? People, understand what the republicans are trying to do to you and Vote for Obama/Biden to show that we are not as dumb as they think we are.

3 Chris G. Fri, Oct 17, 2008 - 7:16 pm

Elgin..  Thanks for the additional info

4 WAKE UP!!! Sun, Oct 19, 2008 - 12:11 am

OK black people, we now have a reason not to vote for McCain. He will not even recognize his own black family members now how do you think he will ever recognize us. Wake up black republicans, he don’t even like you all.

5 M* from SunriseSundown.Blogspot.com Sun, Oct 19, 2008 - 2:53 am


6 VietVet67 Sun, Oct 19, 2008 - 12:47 pm

Hey guys, I live in the red state of Texas (don’t hate me). Is this story true? I want to circulate it down here to some of my Repub friends.


7 Tina Mon, Oct 20, 2008 - 5:42 pm

Yes this is true. Some of our relatives live in San Antonio, TX. This story is very true.

8 Jacquelyn Mon, Oct 20, 2008 - 9:29 pm

Yes, this story is true.  I am a McCain family member.  John McCain has never acknowledged us as family (but, we truly don’t loose sleep over it) His brother comes to the Teoc Reunions and it is pretty down to earth…. it’s strange that no one cared about this until John McCain started running for president…

9 Vee Tue, Oct 21, 2008 - 10:18 am

As someone else has commented, John McCain shouldn’t be held responsible for his family owning slaves—after all, he was only 8 yrs old at the time! wink 

What bothers me is John McCain lying about his family history:
“I have ancestors who have fought for the Confederacy, none of whom owned slaves.”

I can never understand why someone would lie about anything that can be proven. What else is he lying about? Disturbing…

10 Above Tue, Oct 21, 2008 - 3:34 pm

But you can tell by the lack of acknowledging his own black family members that he would have been perfectly fine with slavery and owning slaves. The guy is definitely a racist and this alone should have disqualified from being a presidential candidate.

11 PJ Tue, Oct 21, 2008 - 4:10 pm

Remember John McCain voted against making MLK a national holiday, not a single African-American should EVER forget his decision. Read the story regarding his first wife, this man is all about himself, not the American people, read his book.

12 OBama/Biden Wed, Oct 22, 2008 - 8:25 pm

McCain not voting for the MLK holiday is yet ANOTHER reason for us to realize that her doesn’t give a shit about black people. Yet we still have black republicans kissing his ass as usual. We are the only race that will see this happening to us and still try to fit in with the person, in this case McCain, that would do such things to our people.

13 Kc Sat, Oct 25, 2008 - 3:49 pm

I guess the good thing to come out of the bush years is that people are waking up and wont stand for it anymore, and Mccain and palin just makes more people want change from the bush years. Go Obama/Biden lets build a new future

14 Lisa Hartke Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - 11:58 am

I don’t go to family reunions now with family I do know let alone from people who I have had no contact with in my lifetime. If McCain doesn’t go, it’s could be because he doesn’t want anymore people trying to get close to him to benefit financially from him. Think about it if you were really rich would you seek out people who could possibly be only inviting you to these reunions to hopefully get something from you. It’s like the people that win the “LOTTO” they hear from anyone and everyone.

15 To Lisa Hartke Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - 1:31 pm

Stop making excuses for McCain. He doesn’t go to those family reunions because the people are black. Think about the way he shakes Obama’s hand when they were debating. He could barely stand to touch the man because he is HALF black. A person in his situation should have just shown up at hte family reunion at least once just to shut peoples mouths but he can barely stand to be around us. As was mentioned before he would rather pick an idiot like Palin instead of a brilliant woman like Condelezza Rice for the VP now I ask you is he a racist?

16 Lisa Hartke Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - 2:41 pm

You can spin it any way you want did you ever think that he doesn’t like Obama. I wouldn’t want to shake his hand either and I was voting for him until I found out what he’s all about. We don’t need a President that votes on the left side of every issue just as we don’t need one that votes on just the right side. He will not be good for our country. He is a great speaker but that’s all. He has shown no leadership to actually accomplish a task. Even the people that he worked with at ACORN said he never took the Agency anywhere. He votes not present in Chicago over and over again? That’s what I call leadership. Lets leave him in the Senate and see what he does in the next 4 years and if he’s worthy, he’ll get elected and if he’s not we won’t have put our country at risk.

17 Lisa Hartke Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - 2:54 pm

Condoleeza is a great women and hopefully she will run one of these days- I would vote for her because she’s proven herself to me and I trust what comes out of her mouth. Palin has also shown what she is capable of by reforming the politics on Alaska in both the Democratic and Republican side. Barrack has not 1 time went against his party line in the Senate. How dangerous is that? He will be such a “yes” man they will eat him up and spit him out. Pelosi,Dodd,frank and Cox should all go to jail. The ball was dropped on their watch. We’ll see what the Dems do on wether they re-elect them or not. If they do, I give up and wash my hands because, they purposely did nothing when they were warned “BY MCCAIN”. THIS ECONOMY IS DIRE BECAUSE OF THEM! Not only did they do nothing but, they chastised them and pointed the finger at the messenger. The day you kill the messenger is the day your country dies.

18 Above Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - 4:39 pm

You are the spin monster, Of course I think he doesn’t like Obama as well as the rest of the blacks in the world. He voted against making MLK day a holiday. Why do you think that is??? The country thinks Obama will be good for the country so what you say doesn’t really matter. McCain is the biggest joke that ever ran for president and Bush is the biggest joke that ever became president. You bring up ACORN, lets bring up the 2000 election that Bush and the republicans stole!!! The people had spoken in 2000 Gore won the election but somehow that retard Bush stole it. I like the way you say Obama puts the country at risk but you think 72 year old McCain followed by that idiot Palin doesn’t put the country at risk. What happens if McCain dies and Palin gets the country? Obama at least has the brains to run the country while Palin can’t even run her own damn home (Pregnant teenager) Don’t be mad at the Dems be mad at the leaders of the GOP for their dumb choices of McCain/Palin. Palin hasn’t reformed shit. The only thig good about Palin is that she is pretty, I’ll give her that but as far as doing any thing for this country, I personally think she doesn’t even belong in the same conversation as Obama. You first have to have a brain not just look pretty to run the country. Remember that in 2012 republicans. This country is in trouble because of small bus riding Bush not the Dems but true to form republicans will always try to shift the blame for what they do on everyone but themselves. You should run for office because you are just like the republicans, a blame shifter.

19 to above Wed, Oct 29, 2008 - 11:24 am

I’ll put Sarah Palin up against Barrack Obama anyday. Barrack is an “Empty suit”. He can speak about change but, he can’t follow through on anything. He is the same old Barrack he has been. The only record he has- is far left. He has a substantial record of voting “not present”-don’t you to be “present” to vote “not present”. If you listen you can hear him saying, he doesn’t want to go against the grain. He wants popularity. He can radicals and far left Liberals want him to go. his ideology is far left as can be seen by all the Radicals he hangs with. This country is going to be in a lot of trouble but, you cling to your “hope”. Hope never accomplished anything. When this country gets ruined even moreso and business owners really start laying people off-you’ll be able to blame yourself for voting for the guy that will kill business in America.

20 To the Palin Clone Wed, Oct 29, 2008 - 4:04 pm

The only record Palin has is cheating on her husband, using her power to fire people because the don’t want to be married to her sister anymore, allowing her teenager daughter to geet pregnant, sounding like a damn fool in her interviews. The only time she sounds like she has any resemblence of a brain is when she is told what to say word for word other than that she sounds like a blond bimbo. As I have said before at least Obama has the intelligence to start to make change in this country. Palin probably can’t even change the diapers that will follow from her daughters pregnancy. This country is already in a lot of trouble from that mentally challenged Bush and it will take YEARS for Obama to clean up that asses mess. So to the republicans like yourself, when things don’t get better right away you still will have that dumb ass Bush to blame but over the long hall Obama WILL change things. You say that Obama wants popularity… What do you think McCain was looking for when he nominated that dumb Barbie Doll Palin? I hope you don’t think he was looking for her to do ANYTHING to better the country because someones who even sounds like the dope that she is can’t accomplish anything because nobody can take her seriously. Anyone smart enough Knows Obama’s tax plan isn’t going to kill this country. The ones that don’t are either to stupid to understand that, are republicans that are just going to go against his plan based on the fact that he is a democrat, or are the whites in the world that just can’t understand that Blacks have brains too. Which one are You?????

21 Wow Wed, Oct 29, 2008 - 6:36 pm

To the person that said she would put Palin up against Obama any day. You are a fool! You would put the country in the hands of that lady? That shows all your IQ. Look dumb dumb, most of the American public knows that this lady is #1 there because McCain thought he could steal the election with this ploy and #2 she is the dumbest person to ever be put in any kind of position like this and this includes George W. Bush. So for you to try to compare her to Obama is retarded and shows us how dumb you and the republican party are.

22 Lisa Hartke Thu, Oct 30, 2008 - 2:18 pm

You know what I find funny? Anytime someone has to attack a person to make a point it’s almost always because they are losing. Thanks, for the attacks. I have no doubt that Sarah Palin is an accomplisher unlike Barack Obama who has proven he can do nothing but follow his party’s line and even that, he doesn’t do so well - he’s usually way to the “left”. I would rather put my country in the hands of someone I trust than throw it to the wolves as Obama intends to do. You can say I am Racist but ya know what- I’ll say, I’m not. I do ,however, think that black people (atleast the ones who subject themselves to preachers like the so-called “Reverand Wright”) are holding themselves and their children back.  This country doesn’t need someone that is far left on every issue. He “has atotal left record”-look at it. Nor does it need a President that is supported by terrorists, Racist , Anti-Israelies. It also doesn’t need to elect a self-admitted cocaine user. You can live in the past if you want but,  I’m looking toward our future I have 5 children to think of and Obama is not and will not be good for this country. By the way, I’m a registered “Independent”. Why don’t you go save some wolves seeings how it’s illegal for you to save a child that survived a botched abortion because, of the vote your “Obama” cast. Yea, he’s a real “great” guy.

23 Wow Thu, Oct 30, 2008 - 6:51 pm

You know whats funny to me? When people have to tell someone they are losing that means they, themselves are losing. You have no doubt that Palin is an accomplisher…. Acomplisher of what? Accomplishing letting her daughter get pregnant? This dumb woman can’t even hold an intelligent conversation. I’d definitely put my own IQ up against her any day of the week and I know I am not qualified to be President. You say your not a racist but the fact of the matter is that you can’t vote for Obama because he is black/white and that is old fashion republican racism. You think black people that subject themselves to the truth that Rev. Wright speaks are holding themselves back. Why is that? Is it because you want us to just continually take the racism that we get and turn the other cheek. Why is it that if a black person speaks up against how white people are treating us, and they still are doing it, we are bad for the world? McCain/Palin are the equivelent of dumb and dumber and if you can’t ge that what does that make you?

24 Hartke's a racist Fri, Oct 31, 2008 - 1:15 am

Lisa Hartke IS one of many white that can’t vote for Obama because he is black. Anytime someone is trying to make a stance for a person like Palin over a person that is as intelligent as Obama is clearly making the cans because Palin is white and Obama is black. Even some in the republican party have been asking her to step down but Lisa Hartke, for some reason, still believes in this stupid woman. Now I ask anyone, other than racism, why else do you think she is supporting Palin? Lisa Hartke, you are a typical racist you say repeatidly how you aren’t a racist but you show your “true colors” over and over. You’d rather vote for your race instead of putting a BRAIN in office. How sad are you?

25 TESTIMONY Tue, Nov 04, 2008 - 10:17 am

To Lisa
If Sarah Palin is so smart why did it take her 8 years to graduate from 4 differnt community colleges, with a Batchelors degree at that?  I think you are just lost and based on your feedback you don’t have any more education than she does so it is easy to see why you would relate to her.  I can’t believe someone who has 5 children would want to vote for someone who is going to continue to ruin the opportunity for your children’s future.  Ignorance abounds!!!!

26 Lisa Hartke Thu, Nov 06, 2008 - 10:43 am

I vote for GOD. Congratulations to all the minorities in this country!!!! You can achieve anything you desire and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!! Barrack Obama-perfect color; wrong judgement.

27 To Lisa Hartke Thu, Nov 06, 2008 - 1:13 pm

You voted for god!!! WOW, you think that high of McCain? How about congratulations to America black, white, latino and every other race? But the racism in you heart will let you try to sneak in a racist comment like that. To bad…. McCain and that dumb Barbie Doll Palin lost. I guess most Americans got it right but still ther were over 55,000,000 Americans got it wrong and that says a lot for the country that is supposed to be the leader of the world. It says we have a lot of dummys in this country. About that comment that we can achieve anything, we really don’t need to hear that from you and we all still know that this was Obama’s victory not all of ours and now more than ever, white men with power are really going to try to take it out on the rest of us.  Obama, right color, right person, and in January will be the FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. The new president is black, now deal with it!!!

28 fuck lillie Sat, Jul 11, 2009 - 11:10 am

f**k you lillie

29 Lisa Hartke Mon, Oct 19, 2009 - 9:35 am

You people are all ridiculous. You have no idea who I am. I have brought a little girl(black)not half white-  from New York City to my home for 7 weeks every summer from the time she was 7 yrs old until she was 14. She stayed with me I paid for everything for her including seasons passes to the local amusement park. When our family went for a vacation to Disney World over Easter, we flew her to my home and took her with us on vacation paying for everything including the flight and her tickets to get in. I have 5 children I shop at Goodwill have never bought a new car,couch,bed.etc. The only new item I bought was a table so our family could sit down to eat together. You are the racist ones and I’m sick of you using the race cards against anyone who doesn’t support your “home boy”. He is a thug! I was also a foster mom who raised 2 infant newborns for 11 months sorry though; they weren’t black. Actually they probably were black and I turned them white because, I’m so racist. As far as me taking your children Christmas presents every Christmas- that will not happen anymore! Racist people do not deliver presents to the black children of the inner city. You can get them from your"master”.  You want to start a race war -you got it. I suggest anyone who wants to make personal attacks against someone in the future better realize that you can’t just throw the race card around and get away with it. You people who called me a racist have absolutely no credibility.

30 Carl Mc Cain Tue, Oct 16, 2012 - 11:57 pm

I have recently began research of family history.  I know that my Grand Father was from Meridian, whose name is Robert McCain.  I am trying to find out more about the family there.