Angela Y. Walton-Raji on November 13th, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me HERE.


I hope you have all had a great week and were able to get some good research in as well. We also had a holiday week, with Veteran’s Day. I hope you were able to honor the men and women in your family and among your ancestors who served the country. I was excited to see the many wonderful posts that friends on Facebook, Twitter and other parts of Social Media have been sharing as a way to honor their loved ones. Of course there are many ways that we have to honor them, by writing, blogging and telling the story. Have you shared your own stories? Perhaps in a family publication. It does not have to be extensive, even a newsletter is a good platform to write and tell that family story. The key is not just to tell it, but to tell it frequently. That is how it is remembered.


LatinoTuskegeeFull Article HERE

I mentioned that this has been a good week where people have been sharing information. Of course we have all heard about the distinguished black aviators, known as the Tuskegee Airmen, the famous black pilot of World War II. Well I learned that among those distinguished African Americans was a Latino, a Dominicano, who also was trained to fly. His name was Esteben Hotesse and this was discovered by Edward de Jesus who has been compiling data for a special exhibit on Dominicans in the second World War. He discovered the name Esteban Hotesse and followed his life as a child immigrating with his parents, and who was later trained by Chief Anderston down in Alabama. Of course we know that African descendants are all throughout the Americas, and the Dominican Republic is no exception. But this was a nice piece of information to see this week.


USCT Brothers

Also one fellow researcher identified a set of brothers who served in the USCTs and who enlisted together. this was great to see. My Bass family produced two sets of brothers, Sephus and Braxton Bass enlisted at the same time that Sephus’s two sons Henry and Emanuel Bass enlisted as well.


If you missed this week’s bi-weekly episode of the Black Pro Gen hangout, then you should go and catch up on YouTube. This week was the first of two weeks of Brick Wall Busters, on Black Pro Gen, and we had two challenging cases to address. All of us were able to give a few suggestions to the submitter with the questions, and to hopefully steer her in the next direction. Two significant suggestions 1) Time to visit the old community. Living only 4 hours away it was time to go to the town, walk the cemeteries, and visit the courthouse. Probate records, chancery court records, land and vital records would be essential. And of course to also walk the old cemeteries, the old burial grounds where the ancestors lived and died.  2) Because one of the challenges was that nothing was found on this ancestor prior to the 1910 census. The suggestion was made to go the the Clayton Library (where the submitter lives) and pull out the Soundex. In many cases, people are not easily found, because they are indexed erroneously. Soundex will pull them up, more efficiently in those cases.


Fold 3 Provides Access to Native American Records
There is still time to access the records of Fold3, Native American Collection. This is mentioned because of the 14,000 African American records embedded in that collection. In addition, among the Mississippi Choctaws are several hundred African American records (out of 7000.) So do take a look.


Bernice's Logo

Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show was Forging Freedom, with Dr. Amrita Chakarabati Myers, who has studied the history of Free women of color in antebellum Charleston. This is a little known area of research, the study of free women. She spoke of the varying degrees of freedom, and pointed out how fragile freedom really was for Black women fortunate to have held that status. Their status as free could always change at the whim of the family of person who manumitted them. She share info on how also free people were required to pay taxes on their own selves, something not required by non-blacks in South Carolina. The discussion was excellent. If you missed it, listen to online as a podcast. Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm EST on Blog Talk Radio.



Well, as you know, I am still working my way through NANOWRIMO. I have written 20,000 words so far, and hope to cross 25,000 by early next week to stay on target! My project has been a genealogy story that I have told many times. Well this time, I decided to get a bit into the head and mindset of my ancestors 150 years ago. So many small stories to tell as well, within the larger story. I am enjoying it and am admittedly surprised that I have lasted this long. So—the lesson for me, is to look at the stories that I have told, and then write the narratives. My process has been to walk the ground with them. When  a sister left behind the recruits for the colored troops, where did she go, how was the journey, what could/would she have seen?

So–we shall see how it goes! My goal is 50000 words by month’s end, and hopefully it will go well.


In the meantime, as I wind down, thank you for being part of the loyal listening audience. I appreciate you all for tuning in each week.  In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on November 6th, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me here.

We are almost into the holiday season. Halloween is over, and we are almost into Thanksgiving.

Emancipation Image Harpers

Well, we are fully into this downside of a milestone year, and I hope that you are honoring the ancestors, still this later into the year. Note that of course were still celebrated the 150 years of freedom of our ancestors, many of whom gained that freedom when the Civil War ended in 1865. In addition, that was also the same year that slavery was officially abolished with the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed. That was the official act that abolished slavery. How many of you are also aware that we are celebrating a special 50th anniversary as well. Yes, it was 50 years ago that the Civil Rights acts was passed as well. We should honor our ancestors and remember all of these dates. I was quite young when the law was passed. The decades have quickly passed, but we should not become complacent and forget this significant time.

I hope that you have been honoring your ancestors by blogging, writing, sharing your local history. Have you found your family’s freedom story? How did freedom come to them? The act of emancipation changed the trajectory of your family’s life. We should tell this story and tell it frequently. And how did the Civil Rights act affect your own family life, and pathway. As we move to the end of this year, let us appreciate what has transpired and also what happened 150 years ago, and also 50 years ago.



I have been busy this week with #NANOWRIMO. That stands for National  Novel Writing Month. Well, I am taking one of my ancestral stories, and putting the story down in a narrative historical novel format. This an website and an initiative to pull out the words that are inside, and to commit to about 1670 words a day for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, one should have 50,000 words. That is the length of a small novel. I am using documents that I have from a Civil War pension file, and am telling the story. I have placed myself on the soil with them and imagined what must have transpired when my gr. gr. grandfather told my Amanda that he was leaving to join the soldiers. I guess I have head many of these words in my head for so long. Since Sunday November 1, I have been writing and have been enjoying this process.  At the end have 6 days. I have written over 15,000 words. I am surprised. I have a commitment at least to tell the story and go through the exercise. I urge you too, to consider to write the family story. Try to comprehend, put it in a family history. I am having a lot of fun with #NANOWRIMO2015, and I have run into a handful of other genealogists who are also “doing Nanowrimo as well. So wish me luck with this endeavor.


Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show featured Regina Mason, author of a new edition of the Life of William Grimes, The Runaway Slaves.  This was the first of all of the slave narratives to be published. What I like is that she spent 15 years authenticating the data in his history. She is  her family historian, and she has co-edited this book. She has received a few awards for her work, and now she is working on her own journey to authenticate this journey. She went to verify the information that was there. What a wonderful lesson, she took many years to veryify data, and that effort is one of two stories. One story is the story being researched, and the other story is the journey itself. I appreciate what writers do, and have major respect for the process and we all need to be thinking about this. Tune in and listen to Regina Mason, on Bernice’s show from last night. The show is available afterwards as a podcast immediately after the broadcast



The Smithsonian, National Museum of African American History and Culture opens in 2016 and is now offering internships and fellowships. This is a great opportunity for young scholars. We need more archivists, and repositories. For more information click HERE.


Next week in Veterans’ Day and people in Kansas City are looking for relatives of Waymon Minor, in Apanoosa County Iowa. He is of interest because he was the last person to die in World War I, 3  hours before Armistice was signed. He is buried at St. Mihiel Cemetery in Thaincourt, north of Paris. There is an effort to locate relatives and to honor him.

Also a newspaper site for African American newspapers is now available. Please take a look here!


Thank you all for sharing stories with me. Your time is appreciated and  your sharing stories and projects is also appreciated. You have choices and I am aware of that, and I an honored by your sharing your time.

Don’f forget to join the BLACK PRO GEN Google hangout on Tuesday November 19th at 9pm est.

Well, winding down after another week. Thank you for listening and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!