Angela Y. Walton-Raji on November 18th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the 398th episode of the African Roots Podcast! You can reach me at

I hope you are all doing well. Been busy and still adjustment to things happening in the political arena, but life goes on, and genealogy goes on as well.  And things are going on in the news, and I am going to share some interesting news items with you today. I find it important to put our family data in the right historical context. And I always talk about telling the story–well that is what I am trying to do with my current writing project.



Telling the Family Story for NANOWRIMO

The past two weeks have kept me busy as I have made the effort to tell the story of Amanda Young, and how she survived slavery, how freedom came to her and her family, and how she coped to change during the years that followed. I have been required to incorporate the stories of the people who surrounded my great great grandmother Amanda, and to tell it in a meaningful way. As genealogists, our story goes beyond the name of the ancestor. It extends to the people who knew them, as well. Our task is to widen the ancestral circle and I have been working hard to incorporate collateral ancestors as well as family associates into that narrative as well.



North Carolina World War I Service Cards Available
Great news for North Carolina researchers! The service cards from WWI veterans from North Carolina are now available on Family Search. These are files–we are referring to service cards. They can be searched by Name, Birthplace, Life event. Take a look at these records–there is so much that is revealed on those small cards.


negro-league-parkArticle from

Rare Photo of Negro League Park Found at Missouri State Archives

This week it was shared that a long lost photo of a Negro Leagues Ball park. The St. Louis Stars played on the corner of Compton and Market Streets in downtown St. Louis. This is a landmark, long gone from St. Louis and this photo was stumbled upon accidentally. There is a lesson in that we need to think about the value of capturing photos of the places where we have lived. That should remind us to all consider the places where we grew up and the places that we live now. These places are quickly forgotten, so let’s take inspiration of the image from this old Negro-Leagues ball park. Take some time to photograph all of the churches, the schools the homes of the old community leaders. There is rich history that needs to be told!


Charlotte and the Twelve, A Steele Secrets Story,

Congratulations to Andi Cumbo Floyd who has written a new book as a sequel to Steel Secrets. This is a story who ends up exploring the story of a teacher and 12 students who were killed in a racially-related incident. Ms. Cumbo-Floyd is a friend to the genealogy community and the African American community, especially. Her first work “The Slaves Have Names” reflected her efforts to document the lives of the slaves who once lived on the estate where she lived! It is important to act upon those things, places, and names that we find and to tell the story. We can learn from what she is doing by telling the stories that reflect the places known to us. Her latest book can be obtain from Amazon.


Story of the 1st Black Daily Newspaper
Discussed by Author of Upcoming Book on Louis Charles Rabonez

Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show was amazing. Mark Charle Rabonez discovered some amazing papers after his own father died 11 years ago. He learned that he is a descendant of Creoles of Louisiana. Beyond that–he learned that his ancestor established America’s first black daily newspaper. The New Orleans Tribuns was created by his ancestors, and this was never mentioned in his family oral history. In fact, the history of the family from Louisiana was unknown–with the ties to the Creole community. But once these papers were found, he has embarked on an amazing journey to tell the story of his ancestor, and the story of the New Orleans Tribune. If you missed last night’s show, you can catch it on a podcast right on the site.


A Milestone Episode Approaches

By the way, this is the 398th consecutive podcast. In two weeks I will tape my 400th episode! I have done this every Friday for the past 7 years, so this is a major milestone. I may have a few changes in the format of the show and look forward to continue to share things with you. But you, the audience are so important to me, and I appreciate you for being there. Thank you for sharing your stories and for just being there.
Thanksgiving–a Time to Make Memories

Well—next week is a holiday–Thanksgiving! Time to talk to the elders, to tape their voices—and also to tape the voices of the children! Get some research done, and make some wonderful memories. We are all grateful for life and the challenges that life brings us. I hope that your Thanksgiving is one of joy and warm memories!

In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on November 11th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast. I can be reached always at

Well—what an amazing week we have had folks. Surprising outcomes from the election, and a number of days required to adjust to some frightening aftermath. But we move ahead, fight discrimination and bigotry, and commit ourselves to working for things much better to come.



Today is Veteran’s Day! They are individuals who have served the nation, and some have lost their lives for the country. We cannot forget what they did. I honor my own ancestors who were freedom fighters in the Civil War.

I honor my World War I ancestors who served in France, my grandfather Sam Walton, of the 809th Pioneer Infantry, and John Louis Bass, who serve in the 309th Quartermaster Labor Batallion.

I honor my father Sam L. Walton, who served in World War II, in France, and North Africa.

I honor my brother Sam Walton Jr. who served in Vietnam.

Let us remember them, and call their names!


Bernice Bennett Celebrates FIVE Years on Blog Talk Radio

In appreciation of tasks ahead, it is worthwhile to acknowledge to those who have made accomplishments already.

A warm congratulations to Bernice Bennett who has just celebrated her 5th year Anniversary of her show on Blog Talk Radio, Research at the National Archives and Beyond. She has had over 200 guests and has had over 300,000 listeners over the years! What a amazing record! Well last night’s show was a celebration, with callers from all over the nation congratulating her on 5 years. Bernice’s show has filled an incredible void for many of us, and she has become a true shining star in the genealogy community. Again Congratulations, Bernice Bennett!

Events are winding down for the year, and also for the holidays. There are some new events coming up next year, and at the moment I am busy and engaged with NANOWRIMO. National Novel Writing Month has taken up a lot of my time especially this week. I started with a family story that I was able to extract from Civil War pension files. With these files you can read where an ancestor was born and where they lived. These are the actual words of the ancestors, because these were people who were sworn under oath.

My project for NANOWRIMO is to tel the story of Amanda Young, and her life after losing her husband, son, and father. She later remarried and 50 years later found her sister still living. She ended up marrying the ancestor of Melvin Collier after the Civil War. Melvin in fact found the descendants of their child. Thanks to that little green leaf on Ancestry, he found the missing ancestor!

So, I am immersing myself into that story–and telling part of that story is what has given me much comfort and solace this week, and I have been humbled by telling their story. Telling that story has helped me find a sense of peace. So I should not be afraid of the man elected who ran a campaign of fear and hate. But I come from resilient people and I shall be empowered by the strength and ability of the family to survive.

I hope that others will start to tell their story as well. I am turning this into a story and telling what has happened. We often find our own relatives are not excited when we find things about the family. But when we tell the stories—they are remembered. So I continue to write.


Time for Quiet Reflection


Well in this post-election week, we can now see opportunity. This is an opportunity for us to pause for self-reflection and see setbacks as opportunities to grow and go in new directions. We have new opportunities to create and plant new seeds.

Perhaps it is time to revisit what we do–have a do-over . We have seen rejection and exclusion from the pattern of exclusion from genealogical societies. We created and institute MAAGI, that was created out of the same issues that we have recently address. Back in 2012 several people were rejected for national conferences, after submitting up to 7 proposals were denied. We changed our goal. Perhaps that goal was not critical. That national society clearly did not want us as presenters and they proved it year after year.

The rejection was blatant, but it was a chance to build something new. Which is what we did–we created an institute–the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute. After 5 years, MAAGI is now a staple. This was a response to multiple rejections. We became energized and have never looked back! It has been so positive and remarkably different. So take the post election blues and turn it into something that cannot be undone.


We have opportunities to write–whether NANOWRIMO, or another writer’s support group. We need to take that step and new platforms that are out there. We have writing coaches to motivate many of us.
So—let’s back up, self reflect, and start to write. We are limited by our own imagination!
Thank you for sharing your feelings, and thoughts with me, and your words of encouragement. Many of us are grieving, and your support has uplifted me. Thank you for being there. In the meantime, thank you,  have a great week and remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!