This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome to the African Roots Podcast! My name is Angela Walton-Raji and you can reach me at

November 4-December 30th
Reginald Lewis Museum is hosting the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition of IndiVisible. African Native American in the Americas.
In conjunction with this exhibition, are two presentations: Penny Gamble Williams of Chappquidick and Wampanoag ancestry will speak on November 5. Angela Walton-Raji will present a genealogy lecture on Researching African and Native Ancestors east of the Mississippi. To register for these events, please call 443-263-1816.

Virginia Researchers—some areas of concern: The Virginia Joint Commission on Health Care will meet on Tuesday, November 22 to vote onchanges to Virginia’s vital records. The changes under consideration include possibly lengthening the “closed” periods for vital records by 25 years. Apparently, many Virginia legislators have been hearing from genealogists, but a hard push from the Virginia Department of Health (“VDH”) still works hard to shut off public access to vital records. Here are the issues—“VDH not only is still calling for lengthening access to public records by 25 years (increasing death and marriage records closed periods from 50 years to 75 years, and birth records closed periods from 100 years to 125 years)”. More information about this issue is located here.

Mercer University Offers Institute for Teachers.
The National Endowment for the Humanities and Mercer University are sponsoring a teacher’s institute. From their website at Mercer, it says, “The institute will allow twenty-five teachers of English, history, economics, government, geography, art, and music to learn about the complex social structures of the U.S. South in the crucial yet frequently misunderstood hundred years between the end of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, a period that included both major social problems and amazing cultural development. An interdisciplinary panel of experts on the South will use the cultivation of cotton—the South’s most significant economic product during this time—as a means to analyze and understand the region’s history, geography, economics, politics, culture, and literature. The institute will meet from June 24 to July 27, 2012.” (See link above for more information)

I saw an interesting story about efforts to save an endangered burial site in Suffolk Virginia. Oaklawn Cemetery has been neglected for many years and efforts are now underway to restore this private burial ground. It appears that burials are as far back as the 1820s, through the 20th century. Rich history and the local foundation should be applauded for their efforts to save the historic cemetery.

This is a great time to examine or re-examine those unfinished projects and tasks. The cold months slow our movement with inclement weather, but they allow us time to review what we need to do so that we can tell our stories better and possibly break through brick walls. After the first killing frost, we can consider visiting those old burial grounds and safely look for forgotten ancestors. And perhaps we can consider our own efforts to save burial sites as well. This is also the time to pull out the old maps and study the communities of our ancestors. So as the weather gets colder, let’s put our energies into other projects and hopefully emerge in the spring renewed and ready to get busy again.

Well, thanks for listening, and let me hear from you! In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

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