This Week's Pod Cast


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

Welcome to springtime! Or so the calendar says! Hope your are warmer than a few weeks ago and I know that we can all look with enthusiasm towards true weather change! Anyway–the word of the day is projects! I have been impressed in recent weeks by the numbers of projects that have turned into tangible products or real time events and encourage many of you to find your niche by allowing your own projects to grow.

And by the way—congratulations to the Memory Keepers!!  This is a project of 5 genealogists who have collaborated on a book project—and wow it has emerged!

They call themselves the Memory Keepers—they are Harris Bailey, Bernice Bennett, Ellen Levonne Butler, Ethel Dailey and Vincent Sheppard. They can now announce the publication of their work—a collaboration—where they share their ancestral stories from Edgefeild South Carolina. Now 5-6  years ago many of these people did not know each other. In fact, after reading the introduction even 2  years ago some of them did not know each other. But the ancestral forces were at play and with time they did meet on varying occasions and their common tie—having roots in the same community—led to a wonderful project.
The work is called Our Ancestors Our Stories! Well—I got my copy yesterday and I am so happy to see this emerge! Finally some voices that have long been overlooked have emerged—the African American story from Edgefield County SC.

Many are not aware that early genealogies and counties published over the years omitted the stories of the Black people from the community. In many such counties especially in the south they were the majority—but yet—they were omitted and their stories were not considered worth of inclusion. Well this is a wonderful method of filling that gap and the Memory Keepers decided to put their own people back on the historical landscape.

I am also pleased to note that it is well documented all sources were cited for each chapter has full end notes with clear citations made for just about everything. I am enjoying the read, and am so happy that this has come to fruition. Why not use this as your own model–collaboration can work!

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An interesting site was shared with me, called the Jesuit Plantation project. This site contains some historical data, but also the names of over 200 of the slaves eventually sold by the Jesuits to a plantation owner in Louisiana. I am a slightly familiar with the presence of Jesuit slaves in MD as a noted Maryland researcher,  Dr. Agnes Callum is a direct descendant of slaves from Jesuit plantations in southern Maryland. I learned years ago that there are records that go back pretty far, as, the Jesuits were at least committed to documenting the enslaved, and also baptized and allowed them to receive sacraments of the Church. This as a result created records. Many of the records themselves are now housed at Georgetown University. However, this website, which rests on a Georgetown University site contains names of the 200 plus people who were sent to Louisiana.

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Well tomorrow is a busy day—the new Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society chapter based in Delaware is having a monthly meeting and in attendance will be quite a few members from the Baltimore Chapter. This new group is off and running and to show support and solidarity, the Agnes K. Callum chapter is going to be encouraging and to fellowship with them. So this is  a warm and friendly shout out to a newly formed group.

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The Central MD Chapter of AAHGS is having a special program focusing on my funeral practices, death records,  and so much more. Elinore Thompson and another colleague of hers will set up displays and bring copies of documents such as morticians’ logs, photos and memoirs of clergy, church history books, funeral programs, and other documents that could provide clues about the deceased.  They will receive handouts and research guides as well. This chapter meets  each month in Columbia MD at the Owen Brown Community Center.

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Registration is open for the South Carolina Historic Preservation Conference Tuesday, April 22 in Columbia. We’ll be presenting two sessions with Drayton Hall ~ “Things Seen & Unseen: Looking Anew at the Post-Civil War African American Community at Drayton Hall” and “Connecting Past and Present: Researching History and Building Rapport between a Historic Plantation Site and Its Descendants.” Things Seen & Unseen: Looking Anew at the Post-Civil War African American Community at Drayton Hall

The history of African Americans at former plantation sites is less well known and in many cases undocumented, even though some sites have a significant postbellum African American history, and these communities served as bridges between slavery and modern times. George McDaniel of Drayton Hall and Toni Carrier of Lowcountry Africana will present recent documentary and oral history research on Drayton Hall’s postbellum African American community. The result is a vibrant story that puts people back on the historic landscape, and could serve as a model for other sites and preservation organizations.

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Scholarship winners for MAAGI will be announced in the next few days.

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Next week note that the Memory Keepers will be a guest on Bernice Bennett’s Show. We will get to hear how these 5 researchers collaborated and got their story in print. This should be an inspiring story to  hear. And hopefully you as listeners will be encouraged to take your own projects and expand it and dare to do something different with it. Next week’s story should truly be one that will encourage all of us. And as you know, her show airs every Thursday evening at 9 pm EST on Blog Talk Radio. 

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Well, thank you all for taking out time to tune in, and thank you for all of your messages and notices. In the meantime, have a great week and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.


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