This Week's Pod Cast
Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast!
You can reach me at AfricanRootsPodcast@gmail.com
Well it is truly fall here on the Mid-Atlantic coast—chill is truly in the air—and in western Maryland there was snow on the ground. I also understand that in upstate New York there was truly a full snowfall. I wonder what that means for us a winter approaches. Though I was born in the winter, I prefer warmer weather and hope you are all keeping warm.
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Well, the PBS series, Many Rivers to Cross is now airing. Regardless of the various opinions bad and good about the series, several genealogists have decided to tell our own stories from the historical context in which our own families come. In other words, we have decided to tell, through our own familial lens the story of our own family’s transition from life where they began in Africa, to North America, and how we came to be who we are in our own lines.
An invitation has been extended to the genealogy community and there are several of us blogging about those stories. I wrote my own piece earlier this week, and called it “Who Is My Priscilla” This was a look at, and a question about who my own female ancestor was who made the journey across the Atlantic during the Middle Passage.
With the help of DNA testing, I know my ancestor is said to have been from Nigeria and was a Yoruba woman. I know that her she and descendants ended up in Virginia. I traced a possible route that she may have traveled. She could have been taken somewhere near or through the town of Badagry a slave catcher’s village. Hundreds of thousands of people went through that small portal, and from there, lives were sent westward to a new and harsh reality.
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Now, speaking of Priscilla, the young girl whose story has been documented by BBC and was also included in the series—you need to check out LowCountryAfricana. Toni Carrier created a wonderful article on her blog by sharing documents pertaining to Pricsilla’s descendants. Do you have SC roots? Could you possibly be related to Priscilla? Take a look at the Ball Family Records,. This is a great resource for those with ties to the Low Country and I hope that the link will be helpful.
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A piece of news—this has been unfolding for years. The Black farmers have finally won a lawsuit. Have you ever wondered why there are not many blacks in farming today? But 100 years ago, most black people lived in the south and most were farmers. Well they were choked out of the farming business having loans denied to them for decades—to simply get them out! This happened, and during the years that the Great migration occurred, a people once rural, became in a short time—urban.
This is truly something to think about and this migration has had a profound impact on the culture and the country. But those who persevered through three decades of fighting in the courts—have finally won a 1 billion dollar suit. Now this is really not that much when divided among the litigants, however, it is something that we should all be aware of. As we tell our stories–we must think of how we stopped being a rural people and became an urban people.
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Last night’s Bernice Bennett Show on Blog Talk radio features an interesting topic—from Barbadoes to the Carolinas. I am referring to Bernice Bennett’s show Research at the National Archives & Beyond. Her guest was Rhoda Green who works with the Barbados Carolina Legacy Foundation. Bernice’s show airs every Thursday evening on Blog Talk Radio.
AND—-a special show for those of you with DNA questions will take place this coming MONDAY. Cece Moore and Shannon Christmas will come on with additional information and will be there to answere additional questions about DNA and matches. So tune in on Monday afternoon, at 3 pm on Blog Talk Radio for that special broadcast
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As a blogger it is always nice to learn that sometimes a story has motivated others. Well, I got really good news this week, and I like to as if I am a participant in a small way. In 2011 I wrote an article about Pvt Lewis Martin, , a black Civil War soldier. He was born in Arkansas, but died in the 1890s in Illinois. You have seen his face—his photo is a famous one. He was gravely wounded at the Crater in Petersburg, and he is the black man shown with part of his right arm missing and part of his left leg. As a double amputee living in the 19th century life was going to be hard. In addition—he was a man of color. He would be dependent obviously on the help of others. He was said to have been known to be a heavy drinker. This is not hard to imagine, given his wounds and his circumstances. He died in 1892 in Springfield Illinois where he lived and was buried in the paupers cemetery of Oak Ridge Cemetery. Now—if you don’t know—Oak Ridge Cemetery is a famous place and one of the most visited cemeteries in the country. Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States is buried there.
And a few hundred feet away—Pvt. Martin lies buried—-with no headstone.
Well a woman contacted me after I wrote my article in 2011, and she shared with me that she knew where he was buried. It has taken 2 years—-but a stone is now forthcoming for Pvt. Martin. As a Civil War veteran it is strange that he got no stone form the beginning, but thankfully the effort has been made in Springfield Illinois to honor him. He paid for his freedom and the freedom of others at great cost. And now—150s after his enlistment his name will be seen by visitors to Springfield, at Oak Ridge. Rest in peace Pvt. Martin.
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Well thanks for listening, and I hope you know that I appreciate you my listeners. Keep you emails and announcements coming. In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.