Stephens, a prominent Georgia politician, was a secessionist who was elected vice president of the Confederacy in 1861. In his famous “Cornerstone Speech,” he argued that the slavery was the “natural and normal condition” of black people.
Alexander Stephens, who is a great, great, great grand-nephew of his Confederate namesake, said that was the narrative that he and his brother were taught growing up. He said he and his brother are the most direct descendants of Alexander Stephens, who did not have children of his own.
“It is not as if we grew up idolizing the Confederacy, but it was state of cognitive dissonance,” Alexander Stephens said. “Slavery was wrong, but maybe some of the people who supported it were not so bad. We were taught to look away from it. It was a family tradition that was passed along.”