This Week's Pod Cast


Hello and Welcome Back.

Today is Friday, October 02, 2009
My name is Angela Walton-Raji
This is the African Roots podcast.
You can always reach me at

October workshops
October 3, 2009

Char McCargo Bah will be giving a six hour class in the month October. The class is designed to bridge you from 1870 – pre-civil war period to locate your ancestors and their slave owners.
Researching African Americans in the 1800s: The Advanced Class for
Special Collections, Alexandria Library, 717 Queen Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314 RSVP – 703-838-4577 x 213
Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 p.m. Cost: Free of charge.

October 3rd
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
2nd lecture in a series of 10 will be held in conjunction with the IndiVisible exhibition. The exhibition will focus on African-Native American history in the Americas. The lectures focus on the possibility of researching African American families with Indian heritage and will discuss methods of researching these families. Presenter: Angela Walton-Raji. Time is 1:00 – 2:30 and location is the Resource Room of the Museum 3rd floor.

October 9-10, 2009
The AAGHSC is holding their annual conference at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on S. University Blvd. in Chicago. The keynote speaker is Dr. Spencer Crew now a professor of African American and Public history at George Mason University. There are workshop for beginners, for those who are researching ancestors once enslaved, workshops for writers and publishers and so much more.

October 24, 2009
St. Louis Missouri 1:00-3:00 pm
Fr. Moses Berry, founder of the Ozarks African American Heritage Museum will be presenting at the St. Louis African American genealogy workshop. I was curious as to who Fr. Berry is, so I dug a little deeper and learned about his efforts to preserve the history of Ozarks African American history.

His museum is located in Ash Grove Missouri a few miles northwest of Springfield Missouri, about half way between Joplin and Ft. Leonard Wood. It is less that 1% African American and seems to be an unlikely place for a black museum. However, Ft. Berry has worked to research the history of the area which did have people who were black, who were enslaved and who lived in that small Green County community. His own life is also interesting as he is one of only 4 black Eastern Orthodox priests. He has worked vehemently to preserve the history of the black community in Green County and has established the museum and an historic cemetery in the area.

Virginia Freedmen’s Bureau Marriage Records Online
Digitized and indexed marriage records from the Virginia Field Office of the Freedmen’s Bureau are available online via FamilySearch. FamilySearch digitized the microfilm and, in collaboration with the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, coordinated volunteers who indexed the materials. The Virginia records are part of the pilot phase of the project to digitize all of NARA’s Freedmen’s Bureau papers that have been microfilmed. The next phase of the project will focus on other states’ Freedmen’s Bureau records. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture may ultimately host the digitized records online.

Search the Viriginia Freedmen’s Bureau Marriage records online. The FamilySearch site is free. The pilot records search requires Adobe Flash Player 10 and may take a while to load on some computers.

News from S. Carolina
It will get a lot easier to research 19th- and early 20th-century news in the Sumter area within the next couple of years. Counting the Sumter publications as one, the project will digitize 21 South Carolina newspaper titles from this period.

The project is being funded with a two-year, $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. About 100,000 pages of the selected South Carolina newspapers will be scanned, enhanced and delivered to the Library of Congress, which has created a digital archive of newspapers from several states called “Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.”

Here are some of the black newspaper titles that will be part of the S.C. Digital Newspaper Project, the digitization of newspapers from 1860 to 1922:

Orangeburg Free Citizen
Missionary Record/South Carolina Leader
Peoples Recorder/Southern Indicator
Charleston Advocate
Charleston Afro American Citizen
Charleston Free Press
Georgetown Planet
Rock Hill Messenger

Speaking of newspapers, I took a look at many of the newspapers that are already up—and I saw an issue of the Colored American a newspaper published in Washington DC. 1893—into the 1900s. Originally published in 1893 several issues are digitized on this site. Though not the complete run of thepaper, this is perhaps one of the largest samples of the paper available to the public.

There has been an interesting story unfolding in Florida that I wanted to share with you. It is worth being shared for two reasons—one is the story itself and what is taking p lace. The second reason, is the value of passing along information.

In Sumter County FL plans are underway to remove and relocate a cemetery so that the area can be considered for development. Thankfully there has been some concern expressed by the local historical society as well as a voice of concern from the genealogical community and the community of cemetery preservationists.

USF Africana project under direction of Toni Carrier, has voiced concern as have others from the historical community. Sharon Morgan a genealogical researcher from Chicago has voiced her concerns, as has Bill Drayton, a descendant of slave owners from the Drayton plantation Georgia voiced his concern over the destruction and removal of the cemetery. I was also happy to see my friend Jack Robinson, well known for his cemetery preservation work in Onslow County North Carolina, who also has voiced concern. You are encouraged also to voice your concern and get involved. These two articles will provide more information:

The story has picked up momentum due to the fact that several researchers are sharing this story and responses are coming forth from various sectors. I noted the story a few days earlier this week on Twitter. I then began to see posts on Twitter about it, and have since passed the story on to people on AfriGeneas. I see that it has picked up some momentum also on Facebook and on Genealogy Wise. Hopefully there will be an effort to slow down the plans to simply destroy this burial ground.

Preservation and genealogy go hand in hand. In some cases getting involved in a community issue such as this unfolds. Does it distract from what we do as genealogists? I think not—it is in fact a natural extension of what we do. We tell the stories, we honor those gone, and protecting their resting places is an obligation that we have to our ancestors, upon whose shoulders we stand.

Thank you for your time—once again.

Remember keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

For previous podcasts, click on the date of previous episodes.

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