This Week's Pod Cast


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

I hope you have had a good week and now that warm weather has truly arrived, that you are enjoying the beauty of the season. I am preparing for the summer genealogy season. I am preparing for the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, and I am also preparing for Samford University IGHR.

Also upcoming is the Underground Railroad Conference, which will take place this year in Little Rock Arkansas. This will be the first time that the conference will be held in Little Rock. As stated on the conference website, “The 2013 National Underground Conference will focus on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, exploring resistance to enslavement through escape and flight during this tumultuous period of the nation’s history.”

For those in or near the nation’s capital, the 8th Annual Juneteenth Family History Conference will be held. This is sponsored by the Prince George’s County MD AAHGS chapter. (Note that the hours are actually 8:30 – 4:00) Watkins Regional Park, 301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

And yes I am still in preparation for MAAGI. There is still an opportunity to apply for scholarships to attend this special first time event.

You are strongly encouraged to tune in to hear last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show Her guest was Edward Ball, author of Slaves in the Family.  There was a lot of activity in the live chat room and there were quite a few callers into the show as well.

What do you read? There is one favorite genealogy book that I have and I read at least once a year. It is Somerset Homecoming by Dorothy Spruill Redford. This book inspires me every time I read it. It takes the readers on her genealogical journey. Her journey required travel to research facilities and libraries, and it was done before internet research. I appreciate the toil that went into what she did to find the story and eventually to tell the story. I also appreciate it for the need to learn the history of the land and the family’s connection to the land. I find it important for all of us to study the geographic history of our own ancestral communities. Even this week,  I had an interesting experience on Facebook interacting with a person who shared a family document. She had questions pertaining to the family and their origins, and I pointed out the need to learn the geographic history of the family as well as just learning who the people were.

Having mentioned the UGRR conference coming up in Arkansas, where some of my family history will be shared by one of the presenters, in fact, I am reminded to mention that as researchers, we should also begin to tell the Freedom Story.  On Bernice Bennett’s show last night, Edward Ball shared a freedom story from a descendant of one of his family’s slaves. When the Union soldiers entered the property she shared with him, how an ancestor told how the family ancestors who reacted when the moment of Freedom came. I was lucky to find a freedom story on another line of my ancestry, when one line of women in the familybecame contrabands, and followed the young men, to freedom! I blogged about this story as well.

Finding that story of Freedom is a challenge, for in some cases, it was forgotten because there was pain associated with the story of enslavement. But I strongly believe that if we can find that Freedom story–we can find empowerment. Another story is the story of resistance–that is where so much can be found. There was cruelty during those years, because the human spirit and desire for freedom was so strong, and we find empowerment from those stories of resistance.

We need to learn about the local stories from the communities near our ancestral home. I have such a story from my Indian Territory side. One man Squire Hall descended from a community in the Choctaw Nation where there was a slave uprising–an act of resistance. We have to tell those stories where we will find thankfully empowerment. They were resistant and resilient and many survived and thrived. Let’s remember to find that part of the story as well.

Well, once again I thank you for listening. I know you have choices and your own schedules are busy and I appreciate your taking time away from the many things that you do, to tune in.

Have a great week of research, and please continue to do what you do. Keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

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