This Week's Pod Cast


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

It’s good to be back home again, and last week I was broadcasting from Atlanta. I was there for a AfriGeneas staff meeting, and also for the 37th Annual AAHGS Conference. It was great seeing friends from New  York, California, Utah, Arkansas, Illinois and points beyond But coming home is always great!

Now that the conference is over, just wanted to give a shout out to colleagues from Black Pro Gen LIVE, a group of genealogists both African and Latino who get together and talk and share ideas and thoughts with each other. Last week’s discussion was particularly poignant discussion opportunity, inclusion, diversity and so much more. Join the group at Black Pro Gen LIVE.


Early Black Marriage Index of Kentucky Now Available

Coming out of Kentucky last weekend, was the news that some early African American marriages of Fayettte County Kentucky are now available online. Information coming out of the University of Kentucky says: “Over the summer of 2016, the Special Collections Research Center at University of Kentucky Libraries and the Fayette County Clerk’s Office developed a pilot project that will provide online access to the Colored Marriage Indexes dated 1866-1882 and 1958-1968. The purpose of the project is to provide researchers with greater online access to early primary documents pertaining to African Americans in Kentucky. “



Slaves at Mt. Vernon Featured in New Exhibit
Those once enslaved by the first President George Washington, are now featured in a new exhibit coming from Mt. Vernon. The exhibit is called “Lives Bound Together: Slavery At Mt. Vernon”
The intention is to humanize those left unmentioned, ignored and dehumanized for centuries. This exhibit brings to life their stories and their lives, as they were toiling on the estate of George and Martha Washington. This exhibit will highlight their lives, their work and put the names of those enslaved by General Washington, back on the estate where they worked. It took several  years for this project to unfold, and 19 of the 300 plus people will be featured in this new exhibition.


Portsmouth Virginia’s Black History Highlighted in New Exhibit


I was happy to hear about a new exhibit coming out of Portsmouth Virginia that will highlight the Black Business history of that city. We are talking about the businesses that thrived in the city of Portsmouth. There was a street called Effingham, and that was where the black businesses thrived. The exhibit will last through November, and will reopen in 2017 and will then last until 2018.


Yale Divinity School Honors First Black Student who Attended in 1830’s


An interesting story is coming out of New Haven Connecticut at Yale School of Divinity. The school will now honor James Pennington who was the first person of color to attend Yale. Of course it was not a good experience, but he still took what morsels of teaching that they tossed to him. He was not allowed to sit among other students, he was not allowed to speak in class and he was not allowed to borrow books from the library. But her persevered and then went on to become a pastor, a leading abolitionist and educator. They are now going to name one of the larger classrooms for him, and honor his presence. He is no longer going to reside in the shadows of the university’s past, and he will be honored. They finally honored a man whom they dishonored while there.


Have you heard the story of the Black Russian? Does the name Fyodor Fyodorovich Tomas ring a bell? Or does the name Frederick Bruce Thomas ring a bell with you? Well—last night on Bernice Bennett’s show we got to hear the story of such a man– Frederick Bruce Thomas of Coahoma Mississippi who became a wealthy man, who moved to Russia, and who had an amazing life! The story unfolded through her guest Vladimir Alexondrov who is the author of the book about Thomas. It is an amazing story and one that captured everyone’s attention who heard the show. There are most likely other stories that are similar out there–our task is simply to find them and to tell them. Her show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.


Looking ahead—

-Smithsonian will open the Genealogy Center at the Smithsonian NMAAHC.

-Family Search is uploading even more Freedmen’s Bureau documents.

-If you live in Maryland you are invited to attend a lecture at the Benjamin Bannekar Museum next Saturday, October 29th at the Museum and Park site in Oella Maryland, a part of Catonsville. Time is from 10:00 to 2:00 pm across the lawn at the historic house on the grounds

I want to thank you all for sharing your data and events with me. Thank you for your time and thank you for just being you. I appreciate you all. In the meantime, please remember to keep researching, keep documenting and always–keep sharing what you find.

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