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.

African Roots Podcast Episode #252 January 31, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast

 

Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me HERE.

I hope you are all safe and warm after the amazing weather. Lots of snow in the Tidewater area of VA and of course all of friends in the Atlanta area I do hope that you did not suffer too much after the snow and incredible gridlock that you faced a few days ago. This is amazing winter, so do take care everyone.

GENEALOGY NEWS:

Exciting news from READEX! I was not familiar with them before, but apparently more than 3000 works that were published over 100 year span have now been digitized by READEX. This amazing collection consists of the American Antiquarian Society holding of slavery and abolition materials and now more than 3500 works have been digitized for scholars and researchers.  The collection will consist of high resolution color images of books, pamphlets, graphics and ephemera, including southern imprints. The images that they already have are truly amazing and it will be exciting to learn more.

This collection will cover the years from 1820 – 1922. Note also that truly rare items are in this collection. Books and papers covering the establishment of the Republic of Liberia, and topics from slavery to the Jim Crow era, and personal narratives such as the narratives of Equiano, Denmark Vesey, and even DuBois.

For more information, about this new collection, contact a Readex representative by calling 800.762.8182 or by using their easy contact form.

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Destruction of Records Again!

Oh gracious—it has happened again!! This is coming out of St. Louis County in Missouri, where two workers have admitted dumping, destroying or intentionally misfiling at least 1800s records . Some of the records were found dumped in a wooded area in the Spanish Lake area of St. Louis County. In an assessment, 5 other workers showed a disproportionate number of missing documents as well.

This is quite disturbing as it comes after the Franklin County NC incident many of us in the genealogy community are still quite upset over the unbelievable destruction of records that occurred in December in Franklin County NC.  So let’s follow this story as we depend on the people to preserve these records in our repositories so hearing about this is truly unsettling. More information HERE.

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Front Cover of  ”Memories of Union High”

Congratulations to Marion Woodfork Simmons, author of Memories of Union High has received an award for her work. You have heard me talk about the work of author Marian Woodfork Simmons before. She wrote the beautiful book called, “Memories of Union High” depicting a 60 year history of Union High School of Caroline County Virginia. The school was created when persons of African Ancestry could only attend one high school in the entire county—and that was Union High School. For decades, people in remote parts of the county would send their children to the town to live with relatives and some to live with strangers, just so their children could get an education. The book that she wrote is truly a legacy to the commitment of the people of the county to insure education for their children. Well the latest news is that this week, On January 26th 2014, Ms. Simmons received the Caroline Historical Society Award for 2013 for her work in researching and preserving Caroline County, VA . The book is something that you should have in your library anyway, especially if you have ties to that county and its history. So congratulations Mariaon for this wonderful accomplishment and not that your award was well deserved. If you wish to send words of congratulations to her, you can do so, at mvrc@aol.com.

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At the Civil War Memorial and Museum – Descendant’s Day Presentation

Genealogist and Author Melvin J. Collier will be giving a presentation on how he researched his Civil War ancestor. Edward Bobo of the 59th USCT. This is part of the Descendant’s day program every 1st Saturday of the month, at the Afr. American Civil War Musuem on Vermont Avenue NW, in Washington DC.

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February 1st, in Baltimore MD -A Genealogy Expo!

For those in the Baltimore Maryland area, you have a chance to attend the annual Baltimore Afro Am. Historical & Genealogical Society Expo! This will occur tomorrow at the Enoch Pratt Library Branch on Cold Spring and Loch Raven and is free to the public. This is a chance to ask questions, get answers and also see some wonderful genealogical displays by society members who will discuss their own projects. The event is free and will begin at 12:00 noon.

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February 11th 2014   Okmulgee Oklahoma

A special genealogy presentation will be sponsored by the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band focusing on genealogy research and family history. Featured will be Freedman records, and the 1900 & 1910 U.S. census, Dawes census cards, land records, 1866 treaty,  history books and other vital documents. The presentation will be on Tuesday, February 11, at the College of the Muscogee Nation, 1200 Hwy Loop 56, in Okmulgee, OK at 3:00pm, in room 103.  The event is free and open to the public.  For more information call 405-488-4244.

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WEBSITES TO NOTE:

Some Help for Alabama Researchers.

How many times when researching an African American family or community have you found yourself wanting to know exactly where they may have lived while enslaved? You know perhaps that they came from an agricultural community—but are not quite sure where to look and if there is a list of estates where large numbers of enslaved people may have lived or worked?  Well this week someone share an interesting list from Tennessee Genweb site that actually featured a list of plantations in the state of Alabama interestingly.

I am putting a link to this list for you here. But note—this list gives you an idea where these estates—these plantations were by county, so that might end up being quite useful for you. Of course we know that all persons enslaved did not live on plantations—but many did, and hopefully this Alabama list will be useful for you. It does not contain data with names of enslaved people mind you,  but just knowning where the larger estates were might benefit someone in their research of Alabama ancestors. So take some time and explore the Alabama Plantation List.

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Attention Virginia Researchers From Loudon County:  A Very Useful Database on Slavery Data is available on the site called Slave Issues PapersNow it is not common to find sites where there are slavery documents that cover this span of years.  Over 100 years’ worth of slavery era documents are available with enslaved and slave holder names! This is one of those sites that I wish were more widespread—including all of the multiple states that I research. I took at look at this information and was even surprise to see some deeds of emancipation included.  When the document opens it is quite small so you have to enlarge it, but it is fast and easily to manipulate and search through. I strongly recommend this site—even if you don’t research Loudon County—note that much of Virginia was changing over those years, and you might even find ancestors who ended up in other counties or neighboring states who started out in that area. This is quite useful! I have to say that I am impressed because this data actually rests on a government site!! This is not common—and I am so pleased that the county government saw the value of putting this searchable data on their website.

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I had a great time last night on the Bernice Bennett show and I was her featured guest. The topic was Native American and Africa American ancestry and how to document that unique history. The discussion in the room was lively and the questions asked were thought provoking ones as well. The show can be captured online in the archived podcast-at www.blogtalkradio.com/bernicebennett Thanks to Ms. Bennett for having me as her special guest.

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I hope that the news out of St. Louis may bring about some new energy from the research community to establish some “Friends” groups where ordinary citizens can become partners with the repositories where precious historical documents reside. I urge all of us to give some thoughts as to how we can provide a method of forming groups to address the issue of neglected or forgotten records and give some thought as to how we can all work towards the digitization of records so that all of our histories will be protected for future generations.

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Well, this session has come to a close, and I hope that you stay warm and safe and make it through the next week of predicted snow and ice coming through. I thank you for listening, and please remember, to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

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