Category Archives: African Roots

African Roots Podcast Episode #296 December 5, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, and I suspect that many of you are busy preparing yourself for  the upcoming holiday season. But I hope that with all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season that you will also slow down and just enjoy the time with friends and family.



National Archives hosts Brown Bag Gathering for Thursday December 11th, from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM in Lecture Room B at the National Archives in College Park, MD. If you are interested in getting an introduction to the processing and use of the case files, then you might want to bring your lunch to this gathering at the National Archives in College Park. This will be a casual meeting to listen and learn. Next week’s event will be coordinated by staffers M’Lisa Whitney, and Christina Jones. I hope that other informal gatherings will be planned in the future by other genealogists, no matter where you are.


Milestone Year Approaches – 150 Year Later


As this critical year approaches, with 150 years of freedom. But of course we all know that the events of the past week have put the nation through a lot and this week has been difficult for some of us. The events of the past week have presented us with three cases that have caught the attention of the nation. Young men were legally killed by officers in the line of duty, and in none of the three, was there an indictment, or call for further investigation. Two of the cases will always be in dispute as to what happened, but one of the cases was filmed, and yet, the decision was made not to pursue the deaths further.

How do we address this? And how do we share this with the next generation and explain our own thoughts? The sentiments that we have heard expressed even by our leaders some whom are extremely hostile yet powerful politicians in Congress have little sympathy and little concern. I hope that you are all writing and recording how you are coping with these times of open hostility to people of color and to people who are without power. This is our charge to write and to share how and what we are doing. Part of the record is how we are responding. We are living through history, and even last night, even in Arizona, another similar incident has occurred.

These are sobering times, and as we listen to our politicians judge others—we, as researchers, as record keepers, and a people with feelings and thoughts–I hope you are writing what you are thinking, because generations will want to know what you did, what you thought and how you responded. As we live through this history—-let us record these trying times and let us teach the next generation not to turn away and not turn a blind eye. 100 years ago we saw many of our communities destroyed such as Catcher Arkansas, Harrison Arkansas, Pierce City Missouri, Rosewood Florida–and so many more.  And now those who ran people from their home, and who took over those communities are simply shrugging and looking away. Let’s record what we see, what we feel and not forget to tell this very sad story on the eve of the sesquicentennial of our freedom.



Some Interesting Writing Initiatives

I have been looking at a few writing initiatives in recent weeks, and though I did not participate, I did examine the NANO writing project. NANO is part of the National Novel Writing Month initiative. I took an interest, because I do see that putting the family narrative into an historical fiction format might give some flavor to the story and take many people beyond the family chart structure of pursuing family history. We are doing more than constructing trees.

And there is the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors that sponsors a writing competition each year. You may want to tell some of your family narratives and this might be a great way to put that story out there in a special way.



Last night’s guest on Bernice Bennett’s show was Dr. Maurice Gleason who is a doctor from the UK. He has an interest in UK History, and the role of Irish people in the Atlantic Slave Trade. He provided some unique information on a number of databases, as well as some unique historical points about places such as the tiny island of Montserrat, and their celebration of holidays such as St. Patrick’s and other Irish celebrations. It was a fascinating discussion, indeed. As you know Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9:00pm on Blog Talk Radio.


Well, thank you for listening, for sharing information with me. Also, please have a great week of researching (and Christmas shopping), and don ‘t forget to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

African Roots Podcast Episode #295 November 28, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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


Well I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with friends and loved ones. I hope that this was a time to be reflective of the special time with family. I hope that peace will come to families in Missouri as this has been a difficult week for so many.  And I also pray that peace and solace will come to the Brown family that lost a loved one, and that all who have lost loved ones will also find peace as well. I also hope that the time that you spent with loved ones was special and that you got hold many close to you, and appreciate them.


Now that the holiday is over, this is the time to talk and to listen, as today is the National Day of Listening. I hope that you may start to make this a part of your holiday tradition. I also hope that you are able to do some special things with family to capture the family story. I was happy to see that some people have ordered DNA kits to have elders who are visiting to take DNA tests. Perhaps a DNA test kit might be an interesting Christmas gift to give to a loved one. It is a way to bring the distant past to the present by making some facts known. Also take photos, record this time of special fellowship with loved ones. So pull out the cameras and digital recorders to capture those moments. This a great time, as there is no expectation of purchasing anything, or giving anything other than time.

So pay it forward for future generations to grow and learn.




As I said, this is the National Day of Listening. I was asked  by Toni Carrier of LowCountry Africana, to share why I think this day is important. Well I shared 5 points or 5 reasons to participate in this oral history project. I came up with five points and list them here:

  • Share stories before they are forgotten.
  • Learn the meaning of family traditions
  • Share wisdom with future generations.
  • Share personal beliefs with future generations.
  • Preserve history for generations to come.

You can read the expanded article that I wrote HERE. 

I hope that many of your will make some time to share a meaningful conversation with a loved one and capture some of the stories before they are forgotten. We are the ancestors that the generations yet to come will want to know about, and so we have a wonderful opportunity to pay it forward to them.

In the meantime, I hope that the holiday spirit continues. We have so much to be thankful for today. I am particularly thankful to be a part of the genealogy community and hope to continue to grow and to thrive within it. I learn so much from so many of you, and many things that you teach, write and speak about have inspired me many times. And I am particularly thankful that many of you listen and take time to tune in to me as well. I have been so blessed and I wish many blessings upon all of you as well.

So have continue to enjoy this special weekend, and please remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!