Monthly Archives: August 2012

African Roots Podcast Episode #176 August 17, 2012

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Hello to folks in Kentucky who are having an event at their 3rd Saturday event meeting. A representative from the Kentucky Oral History Project will be presenting a session at this monthly meeting tomorrow.

Speaking of Kentucky have you heard about the series of letters recently acquire by the Kentucky Historical Society? These are 19th century letters, all written in the 1840s and 1850s by former slaves and free people of color. What a rarity and what a treasure! So few letters exist that reflect the lives of ordinary people. The digitized images of the letters are now available online.

Have you noticed how many letters are showing up now on various sites? I find this to be delightful, because there is a chance to see how our ordinary ancestors lived, which is so important because these are the persons upon whose shoulder we stand. It is the nameless ordinary people whose stories need to be told. They are our foundation!

An Exhibit in Birmingham
Speaking of ordinary people–there is a wonderful exhibit in Birmingham Alabama, focusing on the lives of African Americans in a small rural Alabama town of Covin Alabama. The Shackelford family that was a prominent family in the community captured the lives of people in the community in the early part of the 20th century. This is one of those exhibits that provides a rare glimpse at everything African American from the perspective of a small rural community. This rare exhibit runs from mid July to mid September. If you are in Birmingham in the next few weeks do try to get to the library to see the exhibition. Exhibits such as this reflect the lives of ordinary people that are significant to the parts of our culture that need to be celebrated. These stories lay the foundation.

Writing Class available
Telling the stories–do you want to tell your story better? There is a writing class offered by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The writing seminar will be in two parts in September and in February. The seminar will assist those in how to write their own family stories.

Also watch other writers such as Marion Woodfork Simmons who will be teaching of writing and publishing.

* * * * *
Northern California Podcasts The have joined the podcasting community and only if you are a member can you have access to their podcasts. Perhaps it is time to renew your membership.

* * * * *

Speaking of North California folk, pay attention to the work of Nicka Smith. On her family site Atlas Family. She has shared many of her experiences of her family history journey and has documented the research trips, and the family history journeys from the south, to Africa as well. Well, documenting the story is so important. I recently documenting my niece’s move from Arkansas to Washington DC. This is one of those stories that need to be told. And telling those stories are so important, and why we do what we do.

Last night’s Bernice Bennett’s show was fantastic. The show provided an chance to listen to a scientist explain aspects of the DNA-genealogy puzzle. The show can be found here.

Lots of events in the fall:
Federation of Genealogical Societies Annual Conference, Birmingham Alabama
AAHGS National Conference, Greensboro NC
Chicago African American Genealogical Society Annual Conference, Chicago IL
International Black Genealogy Summit, Salt Lake City, UT

Well, thank you all so much for listening once again.
In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.

African Roots Podcast Episode #175 August 10, 2012

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast!
Remember that you can always reach me at

A New Event African American Museums Conference, Baltimore MD Aug 22 – 25
This event was just brought to my attention and the focus will be Commemorating Struggles and Claiming Freedom This will take place at the Tremont Plaza Hotel in downtown Baltimore

Remember the Negro Leagues? Well a few of the players are still with us! On Saturday, August 11, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) will host four Negro League baseball players at its museum located at 428 North Boulevard in Richmond. Four Negro League Players will be present: Henry “Pistol” Mason, Joe “Pop” Durham, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson-Goodman, and Pedro Sierra.

In Kentucky: The Third Saturday Meeting for August 2012 will be on August 18, 2012 from 1-4 pm, at the Mercer County Public Library, 109 W. Lexington St., Harrodsburg, KY. This meeting will feature Sarah Milligan, the administrator for the Kentucky Oral History Commission. Ms. Milligan has been the administrator for the Kentucky Oral History Commission since June 2007. As administrator for KOHC, she assists with a statewide oral history preservation effort, as well as, encourages new and exciting oral history documentation in Kentucky. This kind of event might inspire others to document their own communities with an oral history project.

US Colored Troops, Living History Association Conference. This conference will take place October 19-21, 2012 in Clarksville, Tennessee. So in addition to the other October events, this one is there as another event to possibly put on your schedule. As it says on their website: “The purpose of the General Meeting is to revive the USCTLHA and make it viable, purposeful and beneficial to preserving the legacy of the United States Colored Troops and contributions of African Americans and others to the American Civil War.”

Do tune in to listen to last night’s episode of the Bernice Bennett Blog Talk Radio Show. Her guest was Lisa Lee of northern California who provided some good advice for people hoping to become a professional genealogist. Great advice to get out there, write up a business plan, and start speaking and teaching, and writing! Ms Bennett’s show is every Thursday evening at 9pm EST on Blog Talk Radio.

Two wonderful blogs that I urge you all to read. Melvin Collier’s blog is Roots Revealed and his recent post provides a fantastic lesson on how we should explore family histories when we find out the “dirt” on the family. The piece inspired another good article–by George Geder. On George Geder’s Blog, one finds the story of Uncle Arthur Geder. This uncle lived a colorful life, being in jail more often than not in the early part of the 20th century. However, his story which had him on the other side of the law, still deserves to be told. Perhaps the lesson learned is that time, which is the great healer, can provide a safe distance from the emotion and stress of the day, and with time, we can acknowledge our ancestor’s mistakes, but still go on with our lives. And at the same time–we can still tell the story of what happened, with objectivity and without malice. Two great articles!

Well thanks for listening once again. And please remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!