August 9th, 2008
04:02 PM ET

Anchor opens up about his race

Program Note: In CNN’s Black in America, Soledad O’Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We continue the discussion on the blog with insight and commentary related to the investigation.

We reached out to CNN's Don Lemon to be part of our 'Black In America' blog coverage, asking for a telling experience, or a moment in his life that could shed light on what it means to be black in America.

What we received was a very personal blog entry. You can read it here. The reaction from the online community was incredible. The reaction from his own family proved equally strong. Don Lemon shares why he wrote the blog, what being 'Black in America' means to him, and what the blog meant to his family.

Here he talks about race in his family… how his great grandmother worked for a white man… and that man raped her:

Here Don explains why he decided to share his personal feelings on the AC 360 Black in America blog.

Filed under: Black in America • Don Lemon
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. cbradley

    less than fifty-per previous posts....

    July 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  2. Sonya W. in Louisiana

    Don, let me first say congrats to all of your accomplishments in your career. You are in a tough profession where you are loved and hated depending on what side of the story you are covering. You and I share a similar past. We attended elementary school together in Louisiana for several years at "that little black catholic school" where the students and administration were predominatly light-skinned blacks. Although all of us were black, there was still separation based upon the hue of our skin. The lighter-skinned kids played together. That's just how it was; sad, but true. I left our private school and attend public school in the same community. Things didn't change. I was singled out as being Creole and one of those light-skinned blacks. This mentality is still prevalent in my life. In social settings, the lighter your skin, the more accepted you are. You are expected to be smarter and more articulate than darker skinned blacks. I thought this was a Southern ignorance but I learned it is not. It is just ignorance. Don, keep sharing stories about our history so that America can know the truth and embrace change.

    July 30, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  3. Lamont Austin

    I think one thing that should be known is that yes racism exist on both sides but the racial black people ive met reside in mostly all black communities, I come from prodominateley mexican and indian and white where most black people i know are not racist but seemingly most of the white people are and the effort between blacks, mexicans, and indians to be more pro-active in race relations dont exist. There was even a time when the radio stations here would anounce on a daily basis no hiphop music played on the station.
    I think the real problem is racist that dont realize they are.
    Im tired of people that say get over it, or i didnt cause slavery, there forefathers are responsible for a problem they created and stills exit today, that was the plan of "Henry Lynch" the person that invented the first slave endroctine which indicated in probably alot more words,the endoctrine indicated that if used (the slave endoctrine) correctly your slaves would be under your control for over 500 yrs. it actually says that.

    Lamont Austin Tucson Az

    July 29, 2008 at 7:19 pm |
  4. Larry

    In my genealogy research I discovered a ggm of mine had been raped by a black man.

    July 29, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  5. EJ (USA)

    I don’t care for him. He seems to have a somewhat superior attittude displayed by many lighter skinned people within the black race. That story he told about a white man walking up to him at a car wash inquiring as to how a BLACK man could acquire such a nice car without being a baller, an actor or a drug dealer, made me want to barf. He has the tendency to talk down. News on CNN on Saturday sucks!!! He

    Angela, this is not even the same guy!!!!!!!! LOL

    Don is one person. TJ is another. Two separate people. Get it straight.

    July 29, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  6. Reggie Hammond

    Jackie, know one asked you to say I'm sorry. What's done is done.

    July 29, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  7. adam

    The problem is, if it isnt happening to you then you like to say "get over it , everyone has to deal with problems" andcontinue to go along saying everything is perfect when you know its not, problems dont go away when you ignore them. To solve a problem you have to first acknowledge that a problem exists(Big Jim). While we continue to fight about color or lack of color the rest of the world continues to laugh as we try to bring peace to other countries when we cant even get along in our own.

    July 29, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  8. Reggie Hammond

    Big Jim, so you're sick of American History. The reason CNN is showing "Black In America" is to enlighten the viewers on the prosperity and struggles of blacks in America. AMERICAN HISTORY! It really sickens me that you shrug off this issue as if this doesn't affect you; well, BIG JIM; it does. You're throwing more gasoline into the fire by you're stupid comments. Is that what you're saying to your kids when this program airs or when you see an advertisement for "Black in America."

    July 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  9. Chris - Hemet, Ca.

    Don – Enjoyed your blog. I'm an old white guy. My parents raised me with the lesson that color, like beauty, is only skin deep and that what counts is what is in that man's head and heart. Thank God, for today I have two incredible African American sons in law and five beautiful biracial grandchildren and I couldn't imagine life without them.

    July 29, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  10. Jackie in La Habra, Ca

    I am sorry, but I did not read or listen to Mr. Lemon. I am just sick of hearing about Black American. I wonder when we have a Black President if we still have to say, "I am sorry?"

    July 29, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  11. Angela Frazier, Memphis TN

    I don't care for him. He seems to have a somewhat superior attittude displayed by many lighter skinned people within the black race. That story he told about a white man walking up to him at a car wash inquiring as to how a BLACK man could acquire such a nice car without being a baller, an actor or a drug dealer, made me want to barf. He has the tendency to talk down. News on CNN on Saturday sucks!!! He kinda reminds me of a black Ted Knight!

    July 29, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  12. Claire


    I appreciate that you opened up to share your story. It must have been difficult to put it out there knowing you'd get some really close-minded comments but also some nice comments. I just feel like it's too easy for everyone to judge others and not open themselves up to the possibility that things aren't always the way they seem to them in their little place in the world.

    Unless you've lived a life where racism and prejudice do happen then how is it possible to tell others "get over". I'm white and I know that not all whites are prejudice but some are, and I think we need to realize that just because you or your family isn't racist doesn't mean there aren't people that still are... for heaven sakes, the KKK is still around.

    In the end, we are not all alike. All of us experience different things whether we are black and white, but not all of one racial group or another are the same and we really should move away from thinking that way.

    July 29, 2008 at 11:11 am |
  13. BIG JIM , nashville, tn

    This whole issue about black america and all the other attention cnn brings to the table is the most diabolical means of throwing gas on the flames of racism in this country. CNN presents the subject as if the whole world should evolve around black america, most of americans are not involved with racism, but the continual sucking up to black america is causing many to tire of the issue. Everyone has or most have a cross to carry, the black community or its leaders appear to want the world to watch them carry their cross. Quite frankly I am sick of the whole issue.

    July 29, 2008 at 10:49 am |
  14. Carolyn


    Your grandma reminds me of mine. My grandmother was listed as white on my mother's birth ceritificate. She moved to Washington DC sometime in the 1920's from Virginia. Her grandfather fought in the Civil War, but before he could join, he had to show them his freedom papers. He was considered high yellow. When my grandmother applied for maid jobs, she was denied because she was too light. Most of her life darker skin blacks gave her a hard time. One would never know it bothered her, she reminded me of the main character in Lackawanna Blues because she took in roomers of all kinds. And on Sundays would prepare hot rolls, fried chicken, smothered steak and home fries free, throughout the week she would gather soda bottles and cash them in for food at local store.Alzeheimer disease and the complications of the disease were her cause of death at the age of 84, in 1989. I enjoyed this series, and have decided to help get out the vote in this most historical election.

    July 29, 2008 at 9:54 am |