Monthly Archives: February 2010

African Roots Podcast #46 February 12th 2010

This Week's Pod Cast


Hello everyone and welcome back.
Today is Friday February 12th 2010
My name is Angela Walton-Raji
And this is the African Roots Podcast

You can always reach me at

How is everyone today? My goodness—-I know that for many out there—-this has been an amazing winter. Record snowfalls—-and I mean RECORD amounts of snow. Well, I do encourage you to journal these events and write about them in your blogs, journals, personal notes, as many of us are affected.

Because of the weather, there have been some major changes in the various calendars. The seminars and symposiums, many of which have been scheduled for this weekend have had to be rescheduled in multiple states so that people will be able to dig out and get back to their normal routine, so I won’t go down a long list of events, as many of those schedules will have changed.

The Northeast Mississippi Historical and Genealogical Society and the Lee County Library, Tupelo, MS are pleased to announce that National Park Ranger Tom Parson will present a program on “African Americans in Corinth During the Civil War”. Tom Parson is a Park Ranger for the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center and Shiloh National Military Park. The program is scheduled at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 at the Helen Foster Auditorium, Lee County Library, 219 North Madison St., Tupelo, MS.

This caught my attention particularly because there is a fascinating history that comes out of northern Mississippi during the Civil War. Corinth should be of interest tn many African ancestored genealogists because of the incredible Contraband that was established there. Many men who eventually joined the US Colored Troops passed through Corinth, and hundreds of civilian refugees—former slaves were encamped in Corinth as contrabands. The camp at Corinth was said to be one of the most organized of the camps known to exist. This lecture promises to be an interesting one.

Coming up in Tulsa Oklahoma on Febr 26-27th, the Choctaw-Chickasaw Freedmen Association of Oklahoma will have a major event. The first Heritage conference will take place at the Langston University campus in Tulsa. This will not be a standard history conference—it is intended to be a celebration of history and heritage of the Freedmen of the two nations, and the survival over incredible odds of the Freedmen to create their own since of family, history, and community. Terry Ligon, producer of heritage videos will be present, as will others such as Ken Cooper of the Boston Globe and descendant of the Cherokee Freedmen, and others, who descend from the many Freedman towns in southern Oklahoma. A genealogy workshop, a meet and greet and other events will be scheduled as well.
Carlotta Kemp Wheeler 214-949-9020 and also
Joyce Shelton Settles 214-514-1793

There is an interesting online slide show for those who are interested in Knoxville TN black history. The focus is mostly 20th century—early 20th century black history and there are some great photos that depict the black history of Knoxville. I am referring to the efforts of the The African American Heritage Alliance (AAHA) is a group of dedicated volunteers working to preserve and share the African American experience in East Tennessee and to link social justice and historic preservation. The churches and cemeteries they work to save are significant components of the history of African American communities and the preservation of these sites is vital as we work to interpret the heritage surrounding them. The works of Dr. Mary Whaley in her efforts to preserve the cemetery that was part of the First Presbyterian Church and the cemetery is on the campus of Knoxville College.

I wanted to share the need to get involved in the historical organizations and efforts of local preservationists. There is a wonderful opportunity to document the wider community beyond our own family circles, and to capture the history of the wider community. Many black families share the same history as your own family and certainly had the same historical and political challenges, and many worked together to survive. The rewards and benefits of allowing your research to grow in this direction cannot be over emphasized. I learned how much others appreciate this when I spoke at the Black History conference in Ft. Smith Arkansas last weekend. The local university as well as the historical society museum showed great appreciation for my local history work. I have since met with university officials and we are considering collaboration on some of our efforts. Others from the historical society have outlined some other initiatives, particularly on the documentation of the US Colored Troops who came from the region as well. The point is that–as we work hard to put our families on the historical landscape–it is worth it to share what we have been doing to document the local history with others. This information is wanted, is needed and is appreciated.

Thanks for listening and taking the time once again. In the meantime keep doing what you do. Keep researching, keep documenting and please keep sharing what you find.

African Roots Podcast #45 February 5, 2010

This Week's Pod Cast


Hello and welcome back
Today is Friday February 5, 2010
My name is Angela Walton-Raji
This is the African Roots Podcast.

You can always reach me at

Hello once again from western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. Guess what? I got snowed in here in America’s heartland, and I ended up extending my stay so that I can present at the Black History conference at the University of Arkansas, Ft. Smith. I was to have presented last weekend, but everything was cancelled. It is on again, and will take place tomorrow February 6th.

I was going to go into a lot of detail about upcoming events, but many of the events that I was to have mentioned have been cancelled, including major events at the Smithsonian Institution this weekend. The reason? Another snowstorm. Actually the mid-Atlantic states are going to get over a foot of snow and some places almost 2 feet of snow. I do hope that everyone will stay safe, warm and dry.

I will share with you a great website that I did come upon. Actually it was recommended by someone on Twitter, and it is a site featured by The New England Historical and Genealogical Society They have a great site with emphasis on African Amerian genealogy. The site is

This is a great website, as there are resources, guidebooks, databases, and featured exhibits on their website. In addition there is a an introductory video to the site, and so much more. I was even fascinated to find a reference to black soldiers from the Kansas Colored, which is closer to my part of the country. Do not hesitate to visit this site, even if you don’t have New England ancestry. They have done a great job.

Well, I have to share this story with you. Yesterday I had one of those days that genealogists only dream of. Well African American genealogists. I had a more than fascinating 3 hour visit with the descendants of the family that had enslaved my ancestors in the Choctaw Nation. This was one of those experiences, where they sought me. I received an email many months ago, from a gentleman living in Oklahoma who saw my name in an historical journal. He noticed that some of my ancestors had been enslaved by Nail Perry from what is now eastern Oklahoma. He recognized the name and made it a point to find me. He is a descendant of Nail Perry, the slave owner.

This meeting was amazing, as when he arrived he came with bags of documents, and he brought another cousin, Dick Perry, who generously brought out old maps showing me where the family was buried. We talked for over 3 hours and our visit was a warm one, and I must admit that I was more than appreciative of the time that they took to come. We took pictures, talked, examined documents together, and also acknowledged that yes—there is a blood tie that we share as well.

The lesson that I have learned is the value of sharing your work, presenting your data for others. This man found me, I did not know he existed. The meeting was one that was a moving one, and left me with good feelings about human beings. We cannot alter the past, but it is important that we acknowledge the past and talk about it and grow from what we have learned. This has been an incredible week for me, and I have so much more now to do.

Thanks for listening, and let us learn the value of doing what we do—keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what we find.