African Roots Podcast Episode #254 February 14th, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast

 

Welcome to the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me at African Roots Podcast@Gmail.com.

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NEWS!!

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INDIAN TRIBE DISCOVERS SLAVE CEMETERY ON TRIBAL PROPERTY IN ARKANSAS

 

Cemetery Preservation Leaders Discuss Slave Cemetery with Reporters

The Quapaw Tribe now based in Oklahoma claims ancestral lands in central Arkansas and Pulaski County in particular. The tribe recently acquired much of this land back, and among their discoveries as the land has been examined was an abandoned and long overlooked African American cemetery. It is believed that this land predates the Civil War and was a burial place for persons once enslaved in Central Arkansas.  The land belonged to the Thibault family from the days prior to Arkansas statehood (in 1836) and the Thibaults were slave holders at that time. The tribe has since repurchased their land, and now are reaching out to the community for suggestions for preservation. Leaders of PAAC, the Preservation of African American Cemeteries, based in Arkansas, have responded to the call and are reaching back to the Qawpaws offering their assistance. Carla Coleman of PAAC said that she felt that this was very honorable that the tribe seeks to preserve this burial ground. Tamela Tenpenny-Lewis the groups president, and Dr. Frank Thibault along with Ms. Coleman met with reporters to emphasize their intentions to work with the tribe to preserve and to document this historic cemetery.

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Petition for Freedom Finally Honored in New Hampshire

I missed this story last year, but a blogger who shared this story last year, re-posted the story this week on Facebook. The story is an interesting one, where 19 petitioners filed for their freedom in 1779.  Eventually five of the petitioners would eventually gain their freedom through other means, and the others died enslaved. Well about 30 years ago another researcher wrote about this petition and it took a long time but it was finally brought up in front of the NH legislature again,  in 2013, and it finally passed. Well thanks to Heather Rojo, who shared this amazing story on Facebook this week, and now more of us know the story! She also provided an image of the original petition.

Freedom Petition from New Hampshire. Full story on Nutfield Genealogy Blog

 Surnames of people who filed petition in New Hampshire:  Brewster, Clarkson, Colton, Frost, Gardner, Gerrish, Hall, Hubbard, Moffat, Newmarch, Odiorne, Rindge, Rogers, Sherburne, Tuckerman, Warner, Wentworth, Whipple

(Special thanks Heather Rojo for sharing this story!)

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THIS SUNDAY, February 16, 2014 A special presentation on Hilton Head on Finding your African American Ancestors in Freedman’s Bureau Records. This will be at the Heritage Library Foundation at 2pm. There is a $10 charge for this event. Call to reserve a seat: 843-686-65

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Emancipation Document on Display This Weekend in Washington DC

Also this weekend if you can dig out of the snow in the Washington DC area, note that the Emancipation Proclamation—the original document will be on display only this weekend at the US National Archives. Due to the fragility of the document, it can only be exhibited a few days each year.

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ATTENTION RANDOLPH SLAVES DESCENDANTS

Have you ever heard of the Randolph slaves? Are you ancestors among those who were freed by John Randolph in Virginia?  Saturday 15 Feb, 2014 we will be assisting descendant’s of the former slaves of John Randolph from Roanoke Plantation in Charlotte Co., VA in constructing their family tree. The former slaves (385+) were freed in Apr-May of 1846 and settled in the Piqua, Ohio area. This will be at the Piqua Ohio Public Library and members of the African American Genealogy Group of the Miami Valley and the Miami County Historical and Genealogical Society will be available for assistance from 1-5 pm in the lobby to help those seeking assistance in documenting this unique history.

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Special Offer During Black History Month

Two subscription websites offering specials during Black History Month  to those researching African American history and genealogy. FOLD3, and Accessible Archives have special offers. Fold3 offers free access the African American collection and Accessible Archives is giving a way a free ebook 12 Years a Slave to new subscribers. Both offers are for the month of February.

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In Maryland at the Hayes Heigh House in Harford County on the campus of Harford Community College, is hosting a special exhibit called the Faces of Freedom. It begin in February and goes through May of this year, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery in the state of Maryland. There is an opening reception on Wednesday the 19th from 1 – 6 pm

Quite a few other activities are going on at HCC this month and the calendar is an impressive one. There is an interesting presentation on Harford county and their own freedom seekers—runaways seeking freedom from the local area. This will occur on Monday the 24th at 12:30 to 1:30 pm. Scholar James Chrismer has identified a good number of people from the local community who made it to freedom, and he will be sharing some of his research.

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From Hampton Roads—the spring Seminar is coming up on March 1st and that is not too far away! The Hampton Roads chapter of AAHGS,—they are celebrating North Carolina. On that day they  will have two presenters—Drusilla Pair (Professor Dru) will give a lecture on researching North Carolina. And Marvin Jones will deliver an interesting session on the Winton Triangle Community, looking at the history of the tri-racial people of color in northeastern North Carolina. This will take place on March 1 from 10:30 to 1:00 pm, at the Hampton Public Library. Pre-registration is required.

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From Alexandria Virginia

 

Char McCargo Bah

Most people in Alexandria Virginia are familiar with the work of Char McCargo Bah. Well I would like to direct your attention to a wonderful article about her that was in the press this past week in the Alexandria Virginia NEWS. This article describes in detail the work that Char has been involved in over the years, and provides an interesting and closer look at Mrs. Bah the person. I was unaware that she lived in Sierra Leone for a while with her husband and daughter. I know that her work in northern Virginia is truly amazing, but the extent to which she has gone and documented it, is truly a good read.

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From Blog Talk Radio

Well did you catch Bernice Bennett’s show last night? Her guest was John Baker, author of the award winning book Washingtons of Wessyngton. He was truly inspiring. He is a descendant of people from Wessyington Plantaton in Robertson County Tennessee, and his story is truly a remarkable one. His journey accidentally, when an elder pointed out that a photo from one of his school textbooks, was also a family photo. This initiated a 30+ year quest to find out more information about his history. And like many people, he became focused on all of the families who were tied to the same community where his own people were from. I can only say that I have been truly inspired. His focus on this one community had illustrated how we must all focus on our places of origin, study them, document them, and tell those stories. Listen to this show if you missed it. You can always catch Ms. Bennett’s show, Research At the National Archives and Beyond,  live on Thursday evenings at 9 pm EST on Blog Talk Radio.

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Special thanks to Dr. Valencia King Nelson for sharing a post about slave receipts with me. I was inspired to write a blog post about them, and I appreciate the sobering lesson about the wide breadth of the industry upon which our country was built. We should all be reminded of this history and all be committed to write and to tell the untold stories.

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Thanks for listening and join me next week for another episode of the African Roots Podcast. Remember in the meantime to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.

 

African Roots Podcast Episode #253 February 7th 2014

This Week's Pod Cast

 

Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can reach me at AfricanRootsPodcast@gmail.com

 

Remembering Slavery Project

 Well February unfolds as event for African American History Month proceed. Coming out of  theMiddle Peninsula area of Virignia, an event will take place tomorrow. A special Black History Month Program will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. at the Historic Courthouse, General Puller Highway, Saluda, Virginia. The Historic Courthouse is located at the intersection of General Puller Highway and Gloucester Road. Their special featured guest will be College of William and Mary anthropologist Michael Blakey who  will talk about his own work called  Remembering Slavery, Resistance and Freedom Project (the Remembering Project) and its search for historic African-American cemeteries throughout Virginia. David Brown, archeologist and Co-director of the Gloucester-based Fairfield Foundation, will describe the cemetery component of the Foundation’s work in the Middle Peninsula. More information is available HERE.

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Genealogists Uses Skills to Develop Historical Play

Congratulations to Drusilla Pair for the successful portrayal of her play Flight to Freedom this past week in Hampton Virginia at the Hampton Museum. You know this play emerged from her research of an historic house in the community, the James Fields House. A diary was found years ago and she studied the diary and also used her genealogy skills to research the Fields family that lived there. From her work the story of Mrs. Martha Field emerged and as she fondly calls her Ms. Martha, the story of bravery of this once enslaved woman emerged! Well her play took place on Monday of this week, at the Hampton Museum and reviews and remarks were all in praise of the play itself and the two women in the story, portrayed by Drusilla Pair and Ajena Fields a direct descendant of the Fields family. This is an example of how one can use genealogical skills and take them in a completely different direction.

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Black Belt Genealogy Conference and Expo

An announcement just came out today from Alabama about an event for next week. The Black Belt African American Genealogy Conference will take place next Saturday February 15th at the Selma Dallace County Public Library. The event is free. Note that space is limited so you should register now. More information can be found HERE. 

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A Fascinating Re-enactment

I mentioned Drusilla Pair’s play–well I would like to direct you to last night’s rebroadcast of the Bernice Bennett showon Blog Talk Radio.  Last night the listeners were treated to a reenactment of a short play—“Stories on the Way to Sandy Springs.” This was a  short but moving piece of women who ended up in a place called Sandy Springs during the horrible period of enslavement.  I am quite fascinated at taking note that others are taking snippets from the lives of 19th century women and men, to tell amazing stories.

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Another Genealogist Portrays Family History

By the way a similar reenactment will be featured a the upcoming conference of the St. Louis African American Genealogy Conference—on February 23rd in St. Louis.  Genealogist Konnetta Alexander will be sharing a few facts from about the life of her ancestor Matilda. I got to hear and see Matilda when she portrayed her at the Nashville TN AAHGS conference this past October. So, if you are in Missouri or Illinois, you may want to attend their conference week after next at the Wm. Clay Development Center at Harris Stowe State university in St. Louis.  www.stl-aahgs.com

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Special Genealogy Broadcast

Also tune in tomorrow for a special broadcast of the Bernice Bennett Show, when Robin Smith will be featured tomorrow at 7 pm EST. Ms. Smith, who is a very competent and well respected researcher will discuss something that many need to hear—those “Artificial Brick Walls.” Do you have some? These are self-imposed barriers to learning more about your family, because you have chosen not to follow through. More about her concept of self-imposed brick walls can be found on her blog, Reclaiming Kin.

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Genealogists in the Press

 

Jet Magazine

From JET Magazine, the latest issue features four African American Genealogists! This is wonderful especially since many programs  in recent years have not featured African American genealogist—or if they do it is always ONE and ONLY ONE featured.  I was excited to see the issue because I know three of the four genealogists featured. Congratulations to Melvin Collier, Taneya Koonce, Tim Pinnick and Adrienne Abiodun!

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Reconstruction Conference

And from New Orleans Louisisa, a unique event focusing on Reconstruction during those early years of Freedom. I am referring to an event in Louisiana, in New Orleans at Southern University, the Louisiana Reconstruction Conference – February 7-8, 2014, New Orleans. The event if going on this Weekend,  and some of the topics to be covered are the Black Press, Benevolent Societies, Education, Researching Reconstruction Ancestors, and much more.  If you are in greater New Orleans Louisiana area, this might be of interest.

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ROOTS TECH is Underway!

In case you haven’t noticed, ROOTS TECH is underway! This is the largest gathering of genealogists in the world and it is unfolding in Salt Lake City this weekend.  And if you don’t happen to be in Salt Lake City—pay close attention—you can watch several of the sessions live online via Video Stream. And if you miss them, they are archives on the Roots Tech website. In fact if you missed some critical ones from last year, check this out as well. I did listen to one on DNA and also on using the Cloud for genealogy. There might be some sessions that will benefit you as you research or seek to store your data so check them out.

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A final thought—-as Black History unfolds have you thought of taking things and making them personal? An excellent post was shared by genealogist Aaron Dorsey who posted a poignant thought on Facebook today. I have his permission to share it with you here.

It would be nice for Black History Month that individuals, organizations, media outlets, schools, churches, etc. would stick to some type of theme as opposed to posting random Black History Facts. What is the context of these random disjointed facts? How do they relate to the experience of African Americans today? This trivialize Black History Month and results in so many including of our youth in saying so what when these random facts are presented year after year.

This is truly something to think about—random facts do not teach history. They are simply random facts. Perhaps we now have a charge to alter the way history is presented, even by our own well-intentioned people. We will find much of that missing story on the land from which we come. Perhaps this should be a charge to ourselves to think about and to develop a usable model from which we can all emerge as better researchers, scholars, and storytellers.

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Thanks for tuning in another week, and please continue to share your events and projects. In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.