This Week's Pod Cast


Hello everyone and welcome back!
This is Angela Walton-Raji and this is the African Roots Podcast
You can always reach me at

How is everyone? I hope you are enjoying wonderful spring weather and that the pollen is not bothering too many of you. I have my antihistamines close by and am staying on top of my own allergies. Well, the conference season has begun. Many of us are looking forward to upcoming workshops and events Next week in the greater Washington DC area we have a number of things going on.

April 10
Tomorrow the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a genealogy workshop at 1 pm on researching Native American ancestry. The speaker is Angela Walton-Raji and the presentation begins at 1 pm in the museum Resource Center.

April 14-15th
The National Archives is hosting a Genealogy Fair for 2 days the 14th and 15th and it is free and open to the public. I attended last year and enjoyed it immensely. Representatives from and Ancestry were there, as were several local MD/No. VA organizations as well. In addition there were a number of lectures of interest to researchers at various levels in their research.

April 14th (evening)
The evening of the 14th folks in the local Washington area will get a chance to hear Megan Smolenyak the researcher who investigated Michelle Obama’s roots and creator of Roots Television. That is at 7 pm at the Archives and it is free to the public.

April 17
Next Saturday April 17th will be a busy day and a fun filled day for people in greater Washington DC as well. The LDS Family History Center in Kensington MD is hosting an all day genealogy workshop as well. That promises to be an interesting event for everyone and there are workshops on a number of topics for African American research, Native American research, local MD research and so much more.

Of course many researchers are gearing up for the first of the big 3—the NGS Conference in Salt Lake City that takes place at the end of the month. I wish all of you well who are attending that event.

April 22-24th
April 22-24th Ohio folks can attend the Ohio Genealogy Conference in Toledo Ohio.
Dr. Deborah Abbot and Timothy Pinnick are among some of the African American speakers on the program. Dr. Abbot will be speaking about slavery era research; Timothy will be speaking about black Ohioans found in newspapers—such as the Chicago Defender. Dr. Abbot will also be speaking about cluster genealogy.

The Lemon Project
The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg VA has recently launched an intiative looking at its own slave past. A project called The Lemon Project has begun and will be considered a project towards Reconciliation and healing.
The project is named for a slave called Lemon whom the College owned in the early 18th century. It is hoped that this effort to move towards a healing that this could become a model for other institutions to also follow. As stated on the website, “the goal of the project is to better understand, chronicle, and preserve the history of blacks at the College and in the community and to promote a deeper understanding of the indebtedness of the College to the work and support of its diverse neighbors.” Now not much is really known about the life of Lemon, other than the fact that he was given a bonus at Christmastime in 1808 and was given the permission to grow his own food. He was treated for an illness in 1816 he died the following year, in 1817.
Finally in 1817 the College purchased a coffin for him

How many other persons once enslaved, are there, who are only known by name, and whose stories need to be told? Many times, we search for our own, and we find others whose stories are also asking to be told. How many other Lemons are there? How many Lemons do we see?

As we scroll through the names of enslaved, we need to sometimes pause even if they are not our ancestors, and reflect those unknown men and women, those unknown Lemons deserve to be acknowledged and to have their stories told. Those who descend from the many “Lemons” in our line and those who descend from those whose ancestors enslaved the Lemons, all of us need to reflect, to work together to acknowledge that this history existed, work to tell those stories and we may perhaps take ourselves into a new direction of healing.

We have seen some of this through the initiave of A Friend of Friends, but there needs to be even more healing and cooperation. Let us tell the story of all of the Lemons, both known and unknown and move into that direction.

Well that’s it for me, this week, and I thank you for being there and doing what you do. Please continue, and remember to:
keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

(To hear previous podcasts, click on the date of the previous podcast)

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