Angela Y. Walton-Raji on May 8th, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


Hello and welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can reach me at

I hope  you are all doing well and I hope that people in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas are safe, as I know that there are some serious things with severe weather taking place this week. Please stay safe and we should all say prayers for family and love ones in that part of the country.


The Grand Review Parade is coming!


I hope that if you are in Washington DC area on May 17th, consider attending the Grand Review Parade. From 6 to 10,000 marchers will be able to see a Grand Review of Civil War soldiers. I hope to be there along the parade route, to give honor to my own USCT ancestors. This will be the great time to honor those brave men of the United States Colored troops. I am quite excited to seeing the Grand Review will consist of. I was excited to celebrate  freedom in Arkansas, and now look forward to seeing a celebration of Freedom in the nation’s capital.

This will be impressive and memorable and if you are in Washington at that time—be there! The parade will unfold from 12:00 to 4:00 pm!


Slave Sites at Monticello to be Rebuilt


Thanks to a $10 million dollar grant the story of the enslaved people who lived at Monticello will be a part of the official tours. You may recall that last week I mentioned that now historical sites where old plantation mansions still stand, are now incorporating much ignored history into their tours. They are now telling the much ignored story of the enslaved people who lived and worked and maintained those estates.  I mentioned several from Louisiana. Well one of the most famous estates of them all, Monticello has now rebuilt slave quarters that used to be present. There was an opening several weeks ago, the unveiling of these cabins took place, and many descendants of the more than 100 enslaved men, women and children, were in attendance. This is part of an effort to tell the fuller story of what happened at this famous home of Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers.

Now many us of already know the story of Jefferson and his relationship with Sally Hemmings, but what is not known as widely, is the story of the rest of the enslaved population. How did they live?  What were they forced to do on that estate? Now this is a costly undertaking, and this took placed because of a $10 million dollar gift to Monticello from philanthropist David Rubenstein. At the unveling, he announce an addition gift of the same amount, to rebuild other slave sites along Mulberry Row at the plantation.

Over the years, the grounds were changed, but now they are working to put the roads back on the grounds were the enslaved people lived. A weaver’s cottage will be put back as well as a storehouse and stable. For more information, click HERE.


Funeral Home To Share Obituaries

Joynes Funeral Home

Genealogists with ties to Faquier County VA, have had some good news. Joynes Funeral Home which serves the African American Community of Fauquier Co. VA. They are providing a new service: you can send your E-mail address & they will send notification of all obits as they are published. This is a wonderful service to obtain updates from this funeral home when a  new obituary is posted. What a wonderful tool to use for those conducting community based research. With many small close knit areas almost the entire community is related by blood or marriage. Check your communities to see if other firms are providing this service as well.” Website for Joynes Funeral Home:


Freedmen’s Bureau Records to be Indexed


Good news is forthcoming from Family Search. They have been digitizing the critical records from the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. The end of the Civil War changed the lives of millions of once enslaved people forever. The Freedmen’s Bureau records have been digitized. Partnerships have been formed between Family Search, the Smithsonian, AAHGS, and we now have an enormous task, to get these records indexed. The official announcement will come up during Juneteenth weekend, where more details about the indexing initiative will be unfolding. So do join the effort to make these records available.


African American Track at Genealogy Jamboree


Well, next month, I shall be joining Bernice Bennett, Michael Henderson, Nicka Sewell Smith, Judy Russell, Crista Cowen as speakers in the African American Track of the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. I will be on two panels and will also be speaking about Civil War nurses, matrons, laundresses and cooks. Take a look at the program for this track and for the Genealogy Jamboree in general. This sounds quite exciting and I am honored to be joining these wonderful speakers. The speaker line up is most impressive, and I hope that all in southern California will be attending the event.


After the Jamboree, I will be seeing many of your at the Samford University IGHR. I have the honor of speaking in the track for the Five Civilized Tribes track. Here is info on the track.


Bernice's Logo

Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show featured Dr. Blaine Bettinger. He spoke about DNA standards, which I think are better described as guidelines for DNA text consumers. Interesting discussion with the guest unfolded. Note that Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.


Time to bring things to a close for this week! Have a wonderful week of research, and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and to keep sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on May 1st, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well today is the 1st of May and we are almost at the half wary mark for the year! Hope you are enjoying the spring weather.
I do with to thank you all who have expressed their concerns to me about events here in the Baltimore area. I appreciate the calls and well wishes, and of course we were all affected by the violence in the city. Thankfully peace has returned to the community and I hope that we will all realize that there is work to be done. There are  young people who need to have more options so that they will not feel excluded, and will have hope in their lives. The issues are not unique to Baltimore, and we all should make a commitment to making the community, the country a better place. This is a new opportunity for us all and I hope we all commit to making a change.


Walking Tour of Parker Gray District of Alexandria

AlexandriaPhotoPhoto courtesy of

Well, as May has arrived, there are events occurring. Tomorrow in northern Virginia there will be a historic Walk Through Alexandria. Char McCargo Bah shared this information in social media yesterday:

On May 2, 2015, there will be a walking tour like no other tour you have had. The walking tour will provide genealogical information on selected sites in the Parker-Gray District. This tour will include the Alexandria Black History Museum (ABHM), and the Charles Houston Recreation Center’s Hall of Fame Exhibit; on North Columbus Street we will make stops at Saint Joseph Catholic Church and the late John F. Parker’s last known address; on North Alfred Street we will make stops at the late Jacqueline L. Henry Green’s house and the late Elbert Norton’s house; and lastly we will make stops on Pendleton Street at the late Henry T. White’s house and at the late John W. “Baker” Jackson’s house. The tour will start and end at the ABHM.

This lecture, with a $30.00 fee for adults and a $15 fee for children under 16, will be Saturday, May 2, from 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM at the Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA. Please RSVP through the ABMH at 703-746-4356.


CastinCallOldTimeyOld Timey Casting Call

As many of you know I am a Civil War enthusiast. I have a strong interest in the US Colored Troops, but also in the stories of women who served in the Union forces–not as soldiers, but as nurses, matrons, laundresses and cooks. These are among the many untold stories of the Civil War. I am thrilled to be able to study the records, that record their names. There is so much more to tell. There are those who devote themselves to part of this as re-enactors. Well for those who are interested in that kind of experience, I learned about an opportunity to appear in a film project and USCT re-enactors are needed. This is actually a casting call for an upcoming film. Here is a link to the project.


Bernice's Logo

Speaking of Civil War history, last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show featured Dr. Juanita Patience Moss who spoke about her book on Black Soldiers who served in white regiments in the Civil War. Dr. Moss explained how she became interested in the story–through that of one of her own ancestors, who was in a Pennsylvania regiment that was not a USCT regiment. Her work has now extended into a second volume and she spoke about what she was able to uncover. I have heard her speak and found her to be a delightful person and an intriguing presenter. Her book is available on line at Amazon, or from the publisher here.


St. Louis Mother – Daughter Reunion

ZellaJacksonPricePhoto: St. Louis American

Have you been following this story? Almost 50 years ago a woman gave birth to a child and was told that the child was sick and died. It turns out however that was not the case. The child lived, and was somehow adopted by another family. Since that time, other women have been told that something similar happened to them. The story had a happy ending, but it has opened the door to something else that may have been going on? More than 20 women have voiced their concerns that they two were victims of a newborn death. I am happy for the woman Zella Jackson Price, but I hope also the now grown daughter will be given more than a new family—but perhaps a history–a genealogy that she never knew was attached to her is part of her history. I hope to conduct some family history research on the family and to share it with the family. As genealogists we can hopefully give her and her family a new piece of her history. The story is one that touched my heart, and many of us are following the story.


Crestleaf Discusses African American Online Resources.
Take a look at this new site that has put together a useful list of African American Genealogy Resources.


Louisiana Plantations Address the Slave Community

I was happy to learn this week about a new trend in some plantation estates that now address the lives of the enslaved people who maintained those estates, and upon whom the wealth of the estate was built. In the past the lives of the slaves were never mentioned on historic tours. But I am aware that Dorothy Spruill Redford author of Somerset Homecoming changed some of that when she directed Somerset Plantation and its history. Well this week, I learned that plantation estates in Louisiana are now addressing their slave history. Oak Alley Plantation and others are now including tours of the slave cabins on the formal tours of the estates, and this trend is now spreading to other places as well. Read more HERE.

It is time to wind it down for this week. Don’t forget the other spring events such as the Grand Review Parade, Juneteenth, and more.

Thanks for listening, and have a great week of research. In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.