This Week's Pod Cast


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

Rest in Peace Maya Angelou

This week we lost an American icon, and I felt that I needed to say a few words. I have seen many accolades about her, and even some unexpected remarks even from the genealogy community of how people were moved and even unmoved by her.
But I have to say that ny life was impacted by her, because she as a poor child from the city who spent much time in a country sleepy town in  Arkansas, let me know that I too, from a small city in Arkansas, that I too, have a voice.

I was blessed to have a loving family, and a childhood life with no trauma,  but I still felt so limited in that small southern town. And I saw other children less fortunate than me, who came out of the country, and I saw their faces and I knew that the Arkansas of the 1950s south was even more limiting for them. From her book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I appreciated that this woman spoke of a childhood, where a little girl suffering from trauma could find her voice and she found strength by using that voice once she found it again.

For me, I was inspired to write, inspired to keep a journal, and inspired to speak.  I heard her recite poetry like no other. She gave me Paul Laurence Dunbar, when I had never heard his voice before, and she shared with me, the beauty that came from this amazing poet. I also came to appreciate so many other writers. A person’s ability to inspire is what makes them special, and I am grateful that I’ve lived while she lived and could hear her well.

And so yes, in spite of the naysayers now that she is gone—I can simply say, “and still like dust, I rise.”

God Speed, Maya Angelou.


Ok there are two more days if you are thinking about submitting a proposal to speak at the FGS conference in Salt Lake City for February 2015.



The Baltimore Agnes Kane Callum Chapter of AAHGS is having a special 25th Anniversary Banquet at St. Francix Xavier Catholic Church Hall on June 21st. There are still tickets available for the event and you may contact Noreen Goodson for more information.



I am getting ready to go to California to attend the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree. That is going to be a full agenda. Thursday is DNA day Friday, there will be workshops, a Genealogy Round-table session. Then on Friday they pull out the big guns—Thomas Macentee, Lisa Louise Cooke, Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, and so many more.

And I have the honor of sharing a panel with Bernice Bennett, Nicka Smith and myself, and we will discuss the Future of African American genealogy. We will address collaboration, DNA, slave and slaveholder collaborations, and so much more. The presenters will be names that you recognize and you will have a wonderful experience.

And for African American research stop in an listen to Bernice Bennett present about the Civil War widow’s pensions from US Colored Troops, and then she will be presenting on Homestead records. Nicka Smith will be there sharing her skills as both a photographer and professional and dynamic speaker.  And if you are thinking about writing, then Anita Paul, the Author’s Midwife will catch you attention. She will talk about taking your work to the printed page. There is so much more to see, so take a look at the dynamic schedule.


Juneteenth is Coming!


In Maryland the 19th annual Juneteenth Seminar will be unfolding with the Prince George’s County Chapter of AAHGS. The event lasts a full day from 8:30 to 4 pm, with workshops for beginners and so much more! And also for the opening Plenary, two descendants of Solomon Northup will be there–that’s right descendants of the author of 12 Years a Slave will get things started.


Bernice Bennett Blog Talk Radio Show

If you did not catch it live, tune to hear Bernice Bennett’s show that featured Joe McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project, coming from Hopsewee Plantation. Mr. McGill was staying over night with a group of students from Marquette University High School, and they were occupying two of the slave cabins that remain at Hopsewee Plantation. It was neat to hear also from one of the teachers as well as the students who were at the site.  Tune in to the link above to hear last night’s broadcast.
Well as you begin this travel season take some time out to ask and to remind yourself why you are so engaged. We have to remind ourselves that we are engaged in a serious task as we document the history of our families and our communities. We are getting energized and ready to travel and make sure you prepare yourself emotionally as well as mentally for the journeys that await you.
Thank you for listening, once again and I hope to see some of you next week  at the Jamboree. Thank you all who shared events and happenings with me. In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

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