This Week's Pod Cast



150 Years of Freedom!


Welcome to the African Roots Podcast. And welcome to Juneteenth!

We celebrate 150 years of freedom this year and we celebrate and honor our ancestors who endured so much so that we may be here, today! I wish friends and family in Galveston where this particular celebration all started, I hope they have a great emancipation celebration!


Pray For Charleston

Before we begin our celebration of freedom, let us pause and remember the tragedy of the week from Charleston. Let us pray, for today we mourn. Nine people lost their lives without cause this week, and as we celebrate 150 years, we must pause as acts of terror are being directed to people of color. As we celebrated freedom in 1865 acts of terror were directed to the newly freed. And today as we note 150 years of freedom, another heinous act of terror has been directed to the descendants of those once enslaved.

So before we talk about celebration, we must be reflective of Charleston, all of South Carolina, and the nation. For peace, we pray.


Freedmen’s Bureau Initiative Launches Today!

DiscoverFreedomLogoIndexing Project

Today an announcement will be made coming from California African American Museum. In a partnership with Family Search, the Smithsonian NMAACH, the National Archives and the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society ( AAHGS)the Freedmen’s Bureau Indexing Project will be announced.

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, known also as the Freedmen’s Bureau and to many researchers as Natioanal Archives Record Group 105 (RG105) was a government agency created at the end of the Civil War that provided help to former slaves and poor whites in the aftermath of the Civil War. For African Americans, it was also the beginning of their new status as free people.

This partnership will launch an effort to secure volunteers to index the millions of pages that reflect those Americans in need in the critical years after the Civil War.  Today, at 1:00pm Eastern time, a live video stream will be shared with the genealogy community today. To watch the announcement click HERE.

There are millions of pages reflecting family history, and the challenge before us now is to get them indexed.

Let’s bring forth their names, so that we can bring forth their stories!

Free Webinar on Antebellum Records


A free webinar on Antebellum records will be hosted tonight by Our Black Ancestry. The presenter is Jean Cooper who is a librarian at the Library of Virginia, and she will talk about the amazing resources to find pre-Civil War records, from deeds, to wills, and much more. The Webinar will take place at 7pm (EDT). More information can be found HERE.

Celebrating Freedom in Hampton Virginia


If it’s Juneteenth, it is time for Professor Dru’s Juneteenth Jubilee.

For the third consecutive year, genealogist and teacher, Drusilla Pair is taking her own research to the stage. Tonight at 7 pm (EDT) the third annual Juneteenth Jubilee will unfold. The curtain will rise tonight at the Ella Fitzgerald Theatre, at the Downing Cross Cultural Arts Center in downtown Newport News, Virginia.

What a wonderful way to celebrate freedom by taking the stories that she has been researching on a local level, and putting it on stage in a unique way. Ms Pair has taken a family with local roots, and has woven an amazing story and presenting it tonight. So if you live in the Tidewater area of Virginia, this is a unique way to kick off the Juneteenth weekend.


Save the Date for Cultural Festival in West Virginia


The 25th anniversary of the West Virginia African Heritage Festival will take place in September of this year in downtown Clarksburg. This is a family friendly event, so save the date- September 11-13, 2015.


AAHGS Conference Schedule is now Available

AAHGSConference2015AAHGS 2015 Conference Schedule

The schedule for the 2015 annual conference of AAHGS, is now available for download. To access the program, click the link above.

Midwest Institute to Unfold in St. Louis 
MAAGI Banner Framed

The third Midwest African American Genealogy Institute will unfold in St. Louis Missouri again this year. The program has merged tracks for two basic tracks this year, a “Basic Methods” track will be offered and a brand new “Writing Track” with a professional writing coach to get things started. MAAGI is a major project of the St. Louis African American Genealogy & History Society.



The Ultimate Family History Interview Primer

Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show featured genealogist Nicka Sewell Smith who discussed her new publication, the Ultimate Family History Interview Primer.


This beautiful 12 page booklet is a perfect oral history guide for African American genealogists. Last night, on Bernice Bennett’s blog radio program, author Nicka Sewell Smith discussed the publication of this guide and shared some of her better tips that she has learned from over 15 years of genealogical research, and interviewing elders. Copies of the primer can be obtained from MagCloud.


This Juneteenth weekend provides a good opportunity to reflect what we have. Remember to incorporate the family’s freedom story. If it is not yet known, then study the local history. How did the ancestral community treat the newly freed population? All of that is part of the family narrative, and we should remember to search for that story as much as we search for more names.

And—as we work on that narrative—don’t forget to record your own story. Keep a journal, or interview yourself, and leave a written legacy for the next generation.


Interesting Family History radio show.

Have you heard of Extreme Genes radio? This is a radio program, and I tuned into an interesting interview yesterday. I was previously unfamiliar with this program and it looks like something to tune into from time to time.


African American Knoxville Genealogy

KnoxvilleGroupA new group on social media has surfaced. Let’s welcome the Knoxville African Diaspora Research Group to the Facebook community of genealogy groups. It is great to see another African American community emerge online, and I look forward to reading about their activities.

Well, time to wind things down for another week. I hope that many of you will tune in to today’s announcement about the indexing initiative with Family Search, and that you will become actively engaged in that effort.

Let’s also remember to keep Charleston in our prayers.

And of course remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!

One Response to “African Roots Podcast Episode #324 June 19th, 2015”

  1. […] Tune in to Angela Walton-Raji’s weekly podcast to gain a special insight about the records and what’s happening in the genealogy world for Friday, June 19. […]

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