This Week's Pod Cast


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

What an incredible week! Today, I am coming to you today from that wonderful city on the banks of the Mississippi River, St. Louis Missouri. And as some of you know, I have been here the past several days attending the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute. 

There are no words to describe this week’s experience except that it was a success in so many ways! The four tracks unfolded and the participants were challenged by the instructors and the instructors were stimulated by the myriad of excellent questions and were equally impressed by the talent and skills brought to the institute by the participants.

So many things stood out this week, and as many of you will be watching the threads and looking at the photos and videos as they will be appearing in social media and likewise on a number of blogs, the spirit and energy of MAAGI will be evident.

For me, the most incredible part of the week was to see how much effort that the participants themselves took on the challenges presented to them, and how hard they worked outside of class. This was exemplified Wednesday evening, when a group of participants had an impromptu study group and were engaged in a 4 hour study group back at the hotel.



This group worked until after midnight and somehow they were still back at class promptly at 8:30 the next morning for classes.

But a magical moment occurred when a member of the group Gary Franklin shared his timeline, and mentioned a family to which his family was connected. At that moment, Renate Sanders Yarborough Sanders recognized the name and place. Yes, it was one of those moments where the ancestors must have been smiling down upon them both. Not only was there a connection made, it appears that incredible information was shared about the slave holding family, their records and the descendants of the slave holding family. Renate, has a blood tie to the slave holding family, and has been communicating with one of the descendants of that family. Well, as the magical moment continued, the descendant happened to have phoned Renate, and she was able to allow Gary to speak with her, and Gary heard the names of his ancestors read to him and confirmed many pieces of information that were said to have only been oral history.

Both Renate and Gary are guests on the show this today, and you will have to hear them tell their story themselves. To hear this story is to appreciate that sometimes, things are meant to happen. These are two people who never knew each other, do not live in the same state, and whose lives might have never crossed, but they did cross in St. Louis, and an amazing connection was made.  There is much more to this incredible story that I am sure that they will begin to tell themselves and all of us will be listening to hear more.

To say that MAAGI was a successful event is a mild statement. It is hoped that future institutes will be equally as intense, equally as dynamic, and equally as revealing. It has been an honor to have been a member of the faculty and to have been exposed to the talent and enthusiasm of the group, and I am grateful to have had the exposure to the talents of everyone whom I met in St. Louis.  I hope that the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute in St. Louis, will have a bright and successful future.

4 Responses to “African Roots Podcast Episode # 275 July 11, 2014”

  1. Vicky Daviss Mitchel says:

    Eyes welled with tears for Renate and Gary….Congrats on the success of another MAAGI year.

  2. Shelley says:

    OMG, chills…..beautiful -the ancestors were working it!

  3. H Cain says:

    Wonderful….incredible….successful…happy story!

  4. This was such an awesome story! The ancestors are truly working hard for us. I enjoyed MAAGI 2014 and so glad there was connection successes!

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