Monthly Archives: December 2011

African Roots Podcast #143 December 30, 2011

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome to the African Roots Podcast. You can reach me at

Well the end of the year has arrived folks. Lots of things to reflect upon and many things to also look forward to with great anticipation.

This Saturday the African American Historical and Genealogical Society in Mt. Airy North Carolina, will be hosting a Kwanzaa celebration at 1 p.m. at Mallalieu-Jones United Methodist Church. Evelyn Thompson, president of the AAHGS group, said everyone is invited and the event is free of charge.
The church is at 231 N. South St. in Mt. Airy. The doors open at noon.

Time re Renew Memberships:

So many groups to renew—AAHGS, state groups, for me that Oklahoma, Arkansas organizations, as well as Maryland where I live. From Central MD AAHGS chapter: Theyhave extended the deadline until Tues. Jan 10, 2012 for payment of $20 local dues by those interested in receiving by email CMC RESEARCH TIPS beginning in January 2012. Those who pay local dues by Jan 10th will receive monthly tips, to include info on new research techniques, genealogy resources, brick wall suggestions, etc., all designed to help improve research skills, particularly for those doing African American genealogy. You won’t want to miss out on this great learning opportunity. See excerpt from my previous email for additional instructions for payment of dues.

* * * * *

An Oral History Project is announced:

Most people are more than aware of Thomas Jefferson’s story, but what about the slaves that lived and worked on the president’s plantation? I was excited to hear about this project coming from Monticello. The project also has a new website on January 27 to share slaves’ stories in a project called, “Getting Word: African American Families of Monticello.” At the same time, there will be a new exhibit at the Smithsonian, opening called “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty.” The exhibit will highlight what actually happened to those who worked on the estate and what happened to their descendants. The exhibit will focus on recollections of those whose ancestors were enslaved and what they remember hearing from their elders about life at Monticello. In late February, Monticello also plans to open an outdoor exhibit called, “Landscape of Slavery: Mulberry Row at Monticello.”

So there is a lot to take a look at. However, I also hope that this will encourage many of us to look at the very communities from which our own ancestors come and to examine their lives. On many former plantation estates, all one hears about is the grandeur—the fine lifestyle. People held in bondage are called “servants” and the human indignities they suffered are often glossed over, and usually ignored. But it is time to address the stories of resistance and survival and to honor the ancestors by studying the people who made the plantation thrive—the forced, free labor.

For those researching community history, there are small grants that many may wish to consider submitting an application. The Grants come from the National Trust Preservation Fund, and it is called the Hart Family Fund for Small Towns, the Johanna Favrots Fund for Historic Preservation, and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors. The deadline for these funds in February 1, 2012. Guidelines for these funds can be found here at the website.

* * * * *
For those with DNA ties to Ghana The Centre for African American Genealogical Research, Inc. (CAAGRI), a non-governmental organisation, is spearheading the home coming event aimed at reuniting as many African families in the Diaspora with biological families in Ghana. The Centre, which launched a project called the Sankofa project in 2004, said DNA tests conducted on 206 Ghanaian men have matched some African-Americans relatives who would be making their journey home next year.
More information can be found at the CAAGRI website.

The Cameroon Travelers
Best wishes are being extended to the almost 90 African Americans currently in Cameroon on a pilgrimage to their ancestral homeland. On this journey are persons who have ancestral ties to Cameroon, as indicated by DNA testing with African Ancestry. Last year several dozen people made this trip and this year 90 people traveled including African Ancestry founder Dr. Rick Kittles. Several genealogists are currently with them, including Nicka Sewell Smith, Callie Flournoy Riser, and others. Safe travels and best wishes as they continue their journey.

From Blog Talk Radio:
Bernice Bennett’s radio show airs on Thursday evenings and you can listen to Aaron Dorsey’s presentation on Slavery Era research on the archived link if you missed it last night. I was a guest also last night on the Gist of Freedom radio program, and don’t forget to join the larger community on the Geneabloggers Radio program tonight at 9pm (eastern time)

Well, I hope that you are all making plans for the New Year. My goals are the write and teach and to also take advantage of my own resources. Over 20 years of collecting documents have accumulated, and over 30 years of collecting artifacts and books have made my own home a repository on many levels. My goal is to take better advantage of that repository around me, and to access my own data much better. So what are your goals?

Well as the year winds down, thank you for being there and for supporting my blogs and this podcast. I am honored and humbled by all of what you do and am honored to be a part of this amazing community.

As we move towards a New Year, please continue to keep researching, keep documenting, and please keep sharing what you find.

Happy New Year!

African Roots Podcast #142 December 23, 2011

This Week's Pod Cast


Hello and welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can reach me at

The 2012 National Underground Railroad Conference theme will explore resistance to slavery to Spanish Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Indian Territory. The conference seeks to create a cultural, historical, and interpretive exchange between domestic and international descendent communities of southern freedom seekers. This promises to be a unique conference, focusing on the lesser known destinations to the south, such as Mexico. The Deadline is January 15, 2012. Proposals on the attached form should be submitted by email (

The Massachusetts Genealogical Council announces a call for lecture proposals for the Annual Seminar to be held at Brandeis University in Waltham Massachusetts in July 2012. The theme is Ethnicity and Genealogy and will take place on July 21, next summer. The Deadline is January 31, 2012. More information can be found here.

Summer Institute Registration:
The HistoryMakers is proud to announce The HistoryMakers’ 2012 NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers in Chicago, Illinois from Sunday, July 8, 2012 – Friday, August 3, 2012 This is a competitive institute for teachers, and it promises to be an interesting experience for those wishing to become Master Teachers, and to develop curriculum. It is open to 25 scholars who will be selected to participate. The NEH Institute will focus on four major themes: 1) African American Political Development Pre and Post Civil War; 2) early 20th Century Black Political Strategies, Civil Rights Unionism, and WWII and Cold War Racial Politics; 3) the Civil Rights Movement; and 4) 1970s Black Politics and the New Generation of Black Politicians. Completed applications must be postmarked no later than Thursday, March 1, 2012
and sent to: Jessica Levy, The HistoryMakers, 1900 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

As the holiday approaches there are many ways to make memories with our loved ones. A friend shared a website with some great ideas on plans to create a festive and memorable atmosphere. Many were shared with me on Twitter and by others, and I decided to take a look. Some very good advice was there and you are urged to take a look at the post on The Armchair Genealogist website.

Well thanks for listening, please have a wonderful holiday. In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

There is more to read