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After yesterday's "shocking" revelation that his ancestors were slaves owned by ancestors of Senator Strom Thurmond, the Reverend Al Sharpton held a press conference to discuss the news. It turns out that a Daily News reporter asked Sharpton if he'd like research his family history with genealogy website Ancestry.com - the NY Times reports that Ancestry.com "approached the Daily News seeking to publicize its African-American ancestry database" and the ball got rolling from there. At the Daily News offices, Sharpton told reporters:

"It's important for America, because in the story of the Thurmonds and the Sharptons, there's the story of the shame and the glory of America. The shame is that people were owned as property, and the shame is that every time I write my name now, I will think about how I got that name. The shame is that I am the heir of those who were property to the Thurmond family.

"But the glory is that Strom Thurmond ran for President in 1948 on a segregationist ticket. I ran in '04 on a ticket of racial justice. I got 10% of the vote in South Carolina. I beat [former Vermont Gov.] Howard Dean and [retired Army Gen.] Wesley Clark in South Carolina.

"I wonder what my great-grandfather would have thought about that."

He also told the Daily News he'd be willing to test his DNA to see if it matched a white Thurmond or Sharpton. Ancestry.com genealogist Megan Smolenyak said, though, that it was doubtful there would be a match, "There is no particular evidence to suggest that there is a direct relationship between the two [black and white] Sharpton families to suggest they share a common ancestry. But, given the legacy of plantation society, you can't rule it out."

And when the Daily News spoke to white Sharptons in Florida and told them they were descended from slave owners, they were shocked as well.

Photograph of Reverend Al Sharpton at a press conference yesterday by Seth Wenig/AP