Rather than fleeing the draft, the more likely reason that Hoover took the Justice Department job in 1917 was that his 61-year-old father, Dickerson Naylor Hoover, who suffered from mental illness, had been forced to leave his job as a government clerk without a pension, making young J. Edgar financially responsible for the family. If anything, Hoover’s guilt over staying behind probably added to his later zeal against subversives at home.
4. Hoover was African American.
There are two theories that Hoover had African American heritage. One has it that he was born to an African American mother and secretly adopted by the Hoover family, a theory based on discrepancies in certain birth and census records. However, genealogist George Ott investigated the claim, failed to substantiate it and said he believes it to be false.
More plausible are stories like that told by writer Millie McGhee in her 2000 book “Secrets Uncovered: J. Edgar Hoover — Passing for White?” McGhee, an African American, claims that, based on family stories and genealogical records, she and Hoover had a common ancestor, a great-grandfather, making him a distant cousin. Hoover’s father’s family had roots in Virginia and Mississippi in the antebellum South, where interracial liaisons were not uncommon. Some mixing in his family tree is a possibility but remains unproven.