Angela Y. Walton-Raji on May 22nd, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well this is Memorial Day weekend and I hope that you are all going to have a wonderful weekend with loved ones and friends and that you will be honoring loved ones as well. I also know that many of you will be visiting cemeteries this weekend to decorate the graves of loved ones and to see that they are remembered. They are the ones upon whose shoulders we stand today.



I wanted to give a hats off salute to some people in Texas who are celebrating their history! I am referring to people with ties to Shankleville Texas! This is an historically Black settlement in Newton County Texas! Someone shared the efforts of the Shankleville Historical Society this week and I was impressed! The society has been around since about 1988, and this history has a fascinating past! Also did you know that the annual Purple Hull Pea Festival takes place in Shankleville TX? I love it that this historic community is embracing its history and celebrating their legacy. If you read their website and their history you will be so impressed! What a truly beautiful story of resistance, and resilience and the descendants of this community should be truly proud of their history. They are also  having a Homecoming event in August of this year. Their story is one that hundreds of communities should imitate, and their story is truly one of inspiration!


Henry Johnson to Be Remembered at Last With Nation’s Highest Honor

This Memorial Day weekend I will be remembering my own ancestors my grandfather served in the 809th Pioneer Infantry and my uncle John Louis Bass who is buried in France. They will be remembered. But I was happy to hear that Henry Johnson of the 961st Battalion will finally get the Medal of Honor. He served in the Harlem Hellfighters. This is a unit of Black soldiers most of whom were from New York. He served in an army that did not respect him, nor other men of color. Yet he was a hero. He saved lives, he was wounded, and continued to fight and after running out of ammunition, he engaged in hand to hand combat. He received the French Cross, but never received the full American highest honors. Now 97 years later, he is being honored. He was never given a Purple Heart, after 21 wounds. He died young, in his early 30s and there is no one in the family to carry on his legacy, and he received no benefits from his bravery. But finally after all of these years, he will be honored. Such lack of gratitude was shown to him. He is an American hero, we need to remember him among the many whose names we will call this weekend.

Also remembering Dorrie Miller

Likewise, let us call the name of Dorrie Miller, another under-represented hero of World War II. This man was a man of courage, never trained in arms, because still the military did not see men of color as worth to be trained in the use of arms, and so he was made a cook while in the Navy. This man however, when his ship was attacked at Pearl Harbor, he took a gun and was able to bring down some of the enemy planes as they attacked his ship.


Bernice's Logo
Are you committed to telling your story? Or has your research stalled? We need the researcher, but we also need the recipient of our research. It’s time to research and re-focus, then this might be a good time to ask if are ready to extend and expand our work.¬†Perhaps we need a shot in the arm, well pull out those old documents, look at them and ask, “so what?” ¬†Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show was a good shot in the arm, when Dr. Shelley Murphy was her guest from central Virginia. This is the time to revisit and see where we can go. Every document can lead you to so many more documents. Are we committed to going in those directions that to which the documents point us? ¬†If you are not aware of the “so what” concept–then tune in to her interview which aired last night. As you know Bernice Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening on Blog Talk Radio.



Oh by the way, last Sunday I had a wonderful time at the Grand Review Parade. I have quite a few images to share, and I enjoyed seeing the USCT re-enactors, as well as the ladies as well. I think that there could have been more spectators if the event had been more widely publicized. But I did enjoy the event, and thankfully the weather was great, and it was an impressive thing to see. In honor of my own USCT ancestors, other Union army soldiers, and even women in period dress.  But if you missed the parade, still go to and visit the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum.

Well, thank you all for listening this week. I hope that you will have a good Memorial Day weekend. Also take some time to learn the history of Decoration Day, which has African American origins. Many people are unaware of this tradition, of soldiers buried at this old race course. Fascinating roots from Charleston, and do honor all who have come before us, as well.

So have a great week, I appreciate you all for being there. Have a great week, and remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on May 15th, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


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

I have had an amazing week, and have been running to Washington, for events, for a filming project, and to visit with a group of ladies from all over the country who are celebrating an event in Washington DC together. These are ladies with a good sense of history and fans of historical fiction writer, Beverly Jenkins. There are the ladies celebrating “Diva Daze” when this group of avid readers and history minded women meet, travel together and fellowship with each other. I was able to give them a brief presentation on family history so I am giving a shout out to them. These ladies have a sense of history and it was great to say hello to old friends and to meet some new ones, so a shout out to them.



Well this time of year I always describe as a season of “freedom”. I am in the middle of preparing to look at this year in particular. This is a milestone year. The sesquicentennial celebration of the end of the Civil War, the abolishment of slavery, and the beginning of freedom is underway. The Grand Review Parade will occur on Sunday, and if you are in or near the nation’s capital, try to catch this event. There are a number of events unfolding at the African American Civil War Museum. A number of things from Civil war to civil rights will be celebrated this weekend. I hope you will be able to take advantage of some of the events this weekend. Bring your cameras and take in things and enjoy!


I wonder how many of you have been able to attend a celebration of freedom. This is the opportunity to see in a spectacular way a real celebration of the freedom for a people! Why has it not been celebrated until now? I always ask the question all the time, “have you found your ancestor’s story of freedom?” We need to try to tell that missing part of the story. How did they become free? We are still very uncomfortable as a nation with slavery. Some are uncomfortable with the fact that their ancestors had slaves. Some of us are also not happy to think of their enslavement. But it is time that we find that one moment of joy–of true joy–when bondage ended. So today 150 years later, ¬†we celebrate! Let’s not forget and honor them.


A shout out to everyone in St. Charles Missouri this weekend in attendance for the annual NGS Annual Conference. I know that many friends from St. Louis are there, and attending workshops and enjoying the exhibit hall. So I hope that all are enjoying things and learning a lot from others as well.



Note that in a few days the schedule for the annual AAHGS Conference will be posted. Speakers have been notified this week, and we are all eagerly awaiting the final schedule so that registration will unfold.

In early June, the SCGS Jamboree will  unfold at the Marriott hotel in Burbank California. I hope that many will be able to make it there as well. I am preparing to travel, tweaking power point presentations, and looking forward to seeing everyone from California to Alabama, for Samford. I love the chance to meet other other researchers, and from whom I learn so much. From them I am inspired to write, to read, and to grow. I love being a part of this exciting community.


“Full drive” describes the status of those who are in preparation for MAAGI, July 7 – 9 this year. Two tracks have been merged –the technology track and the professional track have merged into a writer’s track. Many professionals are writing in a variety of ways from books to blogs, and more. There is still room for a few more to register and be a part of this amazing event.


Archie MooreArchie Moore

I must mention the name of a good friend, and colleague from Arkansas, who was a historian, preservationist, and leader, Archie Moore. Mr. Moore has done so many things for so many of us in the community and he passed away unexpectedly this week.  Mr. Moore was a special person and was extremely active in the circle of historians and preservationists in the state of Arkansas. His death still has many of us in shock, and in deep sadness. I saw him last month in Arkansas and he was so kind to me during my stay and showed me so much while I was there.  His focus and dedication were important as was his humor and good spirit of preservation and kindness. Rest in peace, Archie Moore, God Speed dear friend. You will be missed and shall not be forgotten.


PAAC 2015

I know that this weekend the Memorial in May annual conference is unfolding in Oklahoma this weekend. PAAC has been working with the Quapaw tribe of Oklahoma. This is a unique collaboration between and African American preservation group and a Native American tribe. This collaboration is admirable to know about, and their being hosted in Quapaw, Oklahoma is history making. May you continue and may your actions be appreciated.


I have been following several groups on social media such as Search Squad on Facebook which is such an interesting group. But I have been following another story that might require DNA testing to matchi mothers and children. I am referring to the story where mothers in St. Louis were told their children had died, when in reality, they had not–they had been stolen and given to others for adoption. I hope that in this case still unfolding that DNA will help to match children with parents and maybe sibling to sibling. Mothers are so special, so we hope that mothers will find their long lost children.


Bernice's Logo

If you missed Bernice Bennett’s show last night. You have heard me talking about US Colored Troops. Well, she had two guests last night who shared their own family stories that they gleaned from Civil War pension files. Their stories were really great to hear and the lesson of course is the rich data from which one can learn rich family history. Her guests were Tonya Hull and Antoinette Broussard! You can always catch Ms. Bennett’s show every Thursday evening at 9pm eastern time, on Blog Talk Radio.


Well, I am winding down for another week. Thank you all for your messages, events and stories that you have shared and also a simple thank you for listening. I always and humbled by you all and appreciate your being there. I hope to see some of you this weekend along the parade route in Washington DC! In the meantime have a great week and remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.