A DNA test helped a man learn about his roots and discover his royalty. It is the story of Rockville, a Maryland interfaith pastor Jay Speights, who is 66 years old. Speights told that he took the Ancestry DNA test to learn about his heritage. Speights, like many African Americans, did not know much about where specifically in Africa, his ancestors came from before they were enslaved. Initial results from the company proved that he had a distant cousin from Benin. Within the next few minutes, he decided to input the data into a secondary database just for African Americans, and found that he had a “royal DNA.”

It was not until a few months later when a contingent from Benin visited a New York seminar where Speights served as an executive director, that he got back in touch with his long-lost family. There was a member of the contingent who recognized the name of Speights’ distant cousin and gave him the King’s phone number.

The accidental discovery of the African prince

The first time Speights called King Kpodegbe Toyi Djigla, the royal King hung up the call. But after Speights called the royal King back, the King had Speights talk to his wife, who spoke English. Both started corresponding over email.

Speights learned that he was a descendant of King Deka, who was the 9th King of Allada. The 9th King of Allada ruled from 1746 to 1765. Allada is a state in central Benin. It is the country that was home to West African’s largest slave ports. Newly found family of Speights had no explanation for why his ancestors ended up slaves in America. They told Speights that the royal family would have never sold their own people into slavery.

Royal welcome

Speights told that he traveled to Benin for the first time last month. He went to Benin after he received an invitation from his royal relatives. He was received at the airport with dance and music and was later crowned by the King. The King gave him crowns and white lace robes to signal his work as a holy man. The King also gave him the new name, Videkon Deka, which means “the child who came back.”

In an interview, Speights said, “I thought I was going to hang out with my family and do some sightseeing, but this was something else.” Speights plans to return to Benin every year and is deciding to bring his brother, daughters, and wife next time. So this post was all about the story of a Maryland man who accidentally discovered that he was an African prince.