Angela Y. Walton-Raji on July 15th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well it is always good to be home and I am just back home from a wonderful week at the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute, that took place in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. This was an amazing week, and this kind of experience brings about so many opportunities for great dialogue, asking questions, and wonderful stimulation.

On Monday evening, the Ft. Wayne African American Genealogy Group hosted a beautiful meet and greet event and it was beautiful!

Meet and GreetRoberta Ridley inspecting the food

I was so excited because the energy and enthusiasm at events such as an institute are quite different from a regular conference!

Classes got underway on Tuesday, and it was 3 days of work. I coordinated the writing track, and there was a very content-high workshop with each session.

MAAGI Track Sign(Sign reflecting classroom for writing track)

The chance to get away and have a genealogical experience was a much needed break. It was also great to be in the company of other presenters and other genealogists. This experience allows people to slow down and get to know each other. Plus everyone brings something to the institute experience. I  personally feel that I was stimulated and encouraged to get back to my own writing projects. We were blessed to have Anita Henderson, a noted writing coach. The classes let us all know that it is time to make a commitment and get it done.  We also had Thomas Macentee who gave two presentations to the MAAGI group, and they were wonderful. I especially enjoyed the webinar on E-books!

Thomas 2016 WebinarThomas Macentee presented a webinar on publishing in the Writer’s track


A shout out to the Ealy family that is having a major reunion this weekend. Genealogist Melvin Collier has a tie to that group, and is there celebrating with that line.

A special thank you to the staff of the Genealogy Center of ACPL. The facility was wonderful and the staff was beyond courteous! They assisted  us in so many ways and we could not be more delighted! Thank you Curt Witcher, Melissa Tennant, Robert Ridley, we could not have made it without your accommodating us so graciously. Again, thank you.

Now that things have slowed down, I can take my numerous projects to the next level-referring to my writing especially. But I also encourage people to take their crafts and other interests and to blend them. And sometimes, it is great to incorporate them into events with the family. I also hope that you are going to include children with the reunion. I am a strong advocate for inter-generational projects. As you plan those reunions, incorporate children into the process. We saw Nicka Smith with all of  her confidence teach a 4 year old how to take pictures. He ended up taking the official MAAGI group photo,for 2016. We loved watching her interact with the child and he was a natural! Some of us praised him for what he did and we gave him a dollar. He was so amazed that we were giving him money for what he had done. It was a heart warming moment.

Nicka and Child PhotographerNicka Smith instructs child how to take the official photo of the entire group

Well, I am still on a MAAGI high–and need to shut things down for the week. New things are going to become projects for me this week and I look forward to working on them. I appreciate your taking time to let me talk a bit about my experience of the past week, and I want  you to know that I appreciate you for doing so.

Spend some quality time with the family, but always stay focused on the work that has to be done, so remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on July 8th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast!

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode. I am preparing for next week’s experience in Ft. Wayne Indian, but today on this Friday, right now—“I am feeling some kind of way…..”

Weeping Child

There are many genealogy events to share—but today, because I am feeling–well some kind of way—this is a shorter podcast. My heart is heavy–and though I stand with friends, I feel quite alone. Not that I am alone–but alone with my thoughts that weigh down my heart.  This week 7 lives were lost—all for no reason. All of them were senseless deaths—and two–done “officially” while 5 others done in revenge. Some will say that the first two lives taken were taken because they brought it on themselves, yet, as a nation, we all know why they died. From Louisiana, to Minnesota, to Texas, we are heart broken in so many places. All 7 people should be living right now. Selling CD’s, driving their cars, or protecting the community, all of them should still be with us.

We live in a strange time, but we live in a trying time. Yet, as one who grew up in the 50s and 60s and became an adult in the 1970s I recall vividly the stories of Emmet Till, and the heartbreak of the murdered Civil Rights workers. I recall the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther, King.
still be here.

This time last year, we wept with Charleston—but then—-I also remember that when I was a child, 4 little girls were killed in their Church in Birmingham. Do some things never change?

Was Charleston a simple reminder of who and where we are?

Churches Attacked
As a genealogist I work with old records all the time, and we have all celebrated that the Freedmen’s Bureau records were indexed. But have we read those records?  One half hour’s worth of reading those outrages and letters will let you know–some things have never changed.

I remember the words of  Fannie Lou Hamer who told the nation in 1967  how she was beaten while in police custody. Her crime was simply helping people vote. She was beaten by those sworn to protect her. They were never prosecuted.

Fannie Lou Hamer
But back further in time, I research Oklahoma, and I know what happened to Laura Nelson, in Okemah Oklahoma. We all know the image of that poor woman and her son, both hanging from a bridge. I know what happened in Elaine Arkansas in 1919, and Catcher Arkansas in 1923. And I read the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau—and I see systematic cruelty towards people—my people—our people.

Are we not one people?  One America? Clearly to many–we are not.

So yes—today, I am feeling some kind of way….and my heart is heavy. Like the song—“Sometimes, I feel like a motherless child, a long way from home…..”

And I ask myself–is it time to find a new home?

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts and emotions as I feel “some kind of way” today.

We will all get back to what we do, of course, but my hope is that in our small way, in our small circles, we can somehow work to make this a better place. In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting (and telling the story) and always keep sharing what you find.

Be well, and safe, my friends.