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A special view of an African slave voyage reenactment in 3D

Check out this magnificent and insightful view into a horrific situation.

Recreated, 3D Slave Ship, L’Aurore, traces the travels of African captives during the awful TransAtlantic Slave Trade. https://www.slavevoyages.org/voyage/ship#slave-

Check out daily posts @goodgenesgenealogy on wordpress, fb, twitter and via goodgenesgen@gmail.com

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Don’t want to age?

As we research our ancestors, don’t be so anxious to join them this writer points out in a great New York Times piece …

“You know what’s anti-aging? Death. Let’s be happy we’re aging.”
Photo by Monica Garwood
— Carol Walker, the character played by Angela Bassett in the film “Otherhood”
New York Times, September 30, 2021
This is the final installment of “In Her Words.” Thank you, always, for reading and supporting our work.
By Lisa Selin Davis
When Kate Winslet won an Emmy this month for her performance in “Mare of Easttown,” she called her character a “middle-aged, imperfect, flawed mother” who “made us all feel validated.”
Ms. Winslet, 45, had something in common with the night’s other winning women. There was Hannah Waddingham, 47, from “Ted Lasso,” and Julianne Nicholson, 50, from “Mare of Easttown.” Gillian Anderson, 53, took the Emmy for supporting actress in “The Crown.” And Jean Smart, 70, won outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for “Hacks.” Women over 45 were suddenly the biggest winners of the small screen.
Compare this with the 1950 noir film “Sunset Boulevard.” Its protagonist, Norma Desmond, is a washed-up silent film star considered far too old to reinvent herself for the talkies.
Her age? Fifty.
Back then, and until quite recently, anything past 40 was considered ancient in Hollywood years. “It’s always been this youth-obsessed industry,” said Yalda T. Uhls, founder and executive director of U.C.L.A.’s Center for Scholars & Storytellers.
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Men could find roles whatever their age, but women might disappear from the screen during perimenopause, or emerge a few years later in supporting roles, usually as dowdy, eccentric or senile grandmothers, evil stepmothers or spinster aunts.
“If you were 45, or certainly 50 or over, these were the parts you could get: a dying patient or a meddling, horrible mother-in-law,” said Susan J. Douglas, a professor of communication and media at the University of Michigan and author of “In Our Prime: How Older Women Are Reinventing the Road Ahead.”
Even if some of these so-called hagsploitation films of the 1960s, like “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” or “Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte,” were good films, they portrayed older women as mentally incapacitated or murderous.
Ageism is a pervasive problem, both in Hollywood and in the United States at large. The National Poll on Healthy Aging found that 82 percent of older adults reported experiencing ageism on a regular basis, including being exposed to ageist messages and jokes suggesting older adults are unattractive or undesirable. Women experienced more ageism than men, the poll found. Yet older adults’ attitudes toward aging were pretty positive: 88 percent reported feeling more comfortable with themselves as they got older.
A report from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media concluded that even now, there is a dearth of roles for older actresses, and the roles that do exist portray them as senile, homebound, feeble or frumpy. In the highest-grossing films from Germany, France, Britain and the United States in 2019, there were no female leads over 50, the report said, and just one-quarter of characters over 50 were women. Only a quarter of films passed what the report called “The Ageless Test,” meaning they had one female character over 50 who was significant to the plot and was presented in “humanizing ways and not reduced to stereotypes.”
But it’s possible that this year’s Emmy winners are a sign of changing times, changing demographics, and changing — or long-ignored — tastes. So how did we go from “frail, frumpy and forgotten,” as the institute’s report is called, to Julia Louis-Dreyfus playing a hilarious, diabolical and still-sexy politician in “Veep,” or Sandra Oh starring as an embattled professor on “The Chair,” or Angela Bassett, Felicity Huffman and Patricia Arquette starring as unappreciated mothers who take back their lives in “Otherhood?
“We are in the midst of a demographic revolution,” Dr. Douglas said. As of 2019, there were just under 72 million baby boomers and over 65 million Gen Xers. “There are more women over 50 than ever before in our society. And millions of them are not really ready or eager to be told to go away and obsess about their grandchildren without participating in and doing other things.”
Amy Baer, president of Landline Pictures, which debuted earlier this year to focus on the over-50 crowd, said aging had become a much more “dynamic experience” — less about retiring than about starting something new. “They may have raised children and they’re finally at a place where they can focus on themselves professionally and personally,” Ms. Baer said. “They may be changing jobs. They may be finally falling in love after being professionally focused.”
She says this shift — living longer, living better — is just one reason that portrayals of older women in Hollywood are finally improving, both in number and scope. Women over 45 are being cast as leads in complex roles, sometimes the best roles of their careers.
It began with a couple of outlier films in the early 2000s, Ms. Baer said. Two romantic comedies from Nancy Meyers — “Something’s Gotta Give,” starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, and “It’s Complicated,” with Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin — portrayed women in their 60s as romantically desirable leads. The films had enough commercial success to alert industry gatekeepers to an untapped audience. They started to realize, Dr. Uhls said, “there’s a market we’re not exploiting here.”
That audience had both time and money, and was conditioned to going out to the movies, but could adapt to streaming. The media for and about this market appealed to other demographics, too. One of Netflix’s first streaming megahits, “House of Cards,” starred Robin Wright, who was 46 when the series debuted, as the frosty mastermind of the country’s most powerful couple. Not long after, “Grace and Frankie,” a comedy about two vibrator-designing octogenarians, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, became a hit among many different demographics; it’s now Netflix’s longest-running original series.
This content is “consistently successful and has crossover to a younger audience,” Ms. Baer said. “There’s an insatiable need for original content right now in the space that we’re in.”
When executives at the independent studio MRC Films approached her about Landline, Ms. Baer said she did a “back of napkin” analysis on 25 years’ worth of films for and about older people and found that almost all had good returns on investment. “I’m not saying they succeed on the level of a Marvel movie, but they absolutely are financially successful,” she said.
The key, Ms. Baer said, is telling the right kinds of stories, especially those that don’t pander to older people. “We’re creating content that is entertaining, relatable, and deals with life experiences that anyone over 50 is going through,” she said, but that people under 50 can also enjoy.
Landline’s first project, “Jerry and Marge Go Large,” will star Annette Bening and Bryan Cranston in the true story of a retired Michigan couple who found a loophole that allowed them to win big in the Massachusetts lottery and use the winnings to help their town.
Projects like these allow female actors who once would have had dwindling work opportunities to explore new parts of their ranges. Consider Frances McDormand’s Oscar-winning performance in “Nomadland,” or Ms. Winslet’s acclaimed role in “Mare of Easttown,” both roles that required looking like non-Hollywood types.
“Great actresses are kind of enjoying being nonglamorous and not trying to look 20,” Dr. Douglas said. “They’re looking their age and they’re proud of that and they work with it.”
Suddenly women are being celebrated for embracing their age. Or as Angela Bassett’s character, Carol Walker, says in “Otherhood”: “You know what’s anti-aging? Death. Let’s be happy we’re aging.”
“Every actress I’ve had a conversation with has been incredibly embracing of our mission and really excited,” Ms. Baer said. “These are all women who are still in the prime of their career and are not ready or old enough to simply play the grandmother.”
This is not to say that ageism will evaporate or that face-lifts will all of a sudden become obsolete (or that there’s anything wrong with playing the grandmother!). “We’ve got a real turnstile moment here,” Dr. Douglas said. “On the one hand, there are more older celebrities and public figures who are out there embracing their age, while at the same time we still have ageist stereotypes.”
The opportunities for older women are not without limitations, either. “Most of the roles are straight, white women,” she said, as the Emmys painfully revealed.
We urgently need more representations of older women of color, older queer women, older working-class women, and also more stories of strong female friendship, Dr. Douglas said.
Hopefully by next year’s Emmys, we’ll have more.
Featured

Join us in our African American Genealogy Journey … Today, Muhammad Ali’s first Attorney Alberta Odell Jones

Alberta Odell Jones, 1930 – 1965

Honoring the legacies of pioneering lives led me to my triumphant sorority sister, Alberta Odell Jones. She was a magnificent leader who became Louisville, Kentucky’s first African American City Attorney. She was the first female of any race and ethnic background to hold that post. Yet, despite her progress, including that of becoming Cassius Clay’s (Muhammad Ali) attorney who wrote his first boxing contract in 1960, she endured a tragic end-of-life at the hands of hateful people.

Take three minutes and read more about her.

Today, my mother reminded me that she has not received any genealogy social media posts from me. Oops. I have a few blog sites and social media sites that my cousin, Mark Owen, and I have host. Join on @GoodGenesGenealogy on WordPress. I invite you to go to our page and join the conversation.

Good Genes Genealogy also has a Facebook page and Twitter page. Since February 2021, our team began publishing e-book and now have moved to monthly online publications widely distributed on major sites and on our site.

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Slaves’ survival in the wilderness sparks generations of Black Foragers

Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska and Chicago, Illinois, I am used to frequent ribbing about the Midwestern “foreign land.” It was while I was attending Clark College (now CAU, a HBCU) in Atlanta, Georgia, that I first became the subject of great humor about my Midwestern upbringing. It helped that my maiden surname is “Wead” (pronounced “Weed”) and for many of my Southern classmates, very little was known about the Black folk who lived in the Great Plains.

African Americans were integral to the forging of new territories in the great West. My family and hundreds of thousand of African American still live in every region west of the United States’ Mississippi River.

I highlight my beloved Midwest in a new e-book series. This month marks the kick-off of a Black Genealogy e-books that are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Books and our self-publishing book site, Lulu.com. https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/ann-wead-kimbrough-and-mark-owen/august-first-is-the-first-black-holiday-for-black-people/ebook/product-zv5pgd.html?page=1&pageSize=4

My cousin, Mark Owen and I, are the authors and the interior designer and coordinator is Veverly Byrd-Davis. The cover designer is an anonymous apprentice.

One of the chapters is about Nicodemus, Kansas, the first Black and only existing town west of the Mississippi that was settled by African American homesteaders who trekked from Kentucky during Reconstruction to establish a new life. It was tough and they were gritty. I also wrote about Nicodemus and other forgotten Black towns in the West in my other blog. See #25.

I love this NYT piece because it provides excellent sources who speak on the often neglected topics of everything from slaves’ inherent knowledge of wilderness to today’s harrassing and ignorant facts regarding those of us who will stop along the side of a road if we see a special bush that may be a healthy product when properly picked and cooked. There were a couple of stories over the last year that showcased the little-known relationships African Americans have with nature. There are African American outdoors enthusiasts who are hoping to break down barriers that exist about hikng, for instance.

While hiking in Indiana and in New York’s Central Park, violent and harrassing incidents captured global headlines based on ignorance from the inflicters.


I especially enjoyed the NYT references to the enslaved ancestors locating honey from trees and harvesting all sorts of berries and other healthy products from trees, limbs, bushes and from the earth.

Camp Lessons for Life

I was an early African American forager. I grew up as the only one in my household who went to every available that featured the great outdoors camp that my parents could afford. I recall taking our daily showers in stalls that allowed for the minor snakes and other creatures to share in the rustic settings. The campfire stores, especially the ones with scary outcomes in the stars-lit skies, were my favorites. I remember the silly and yet lasting chants such as those for catching ones’ elbows on the large dining hall’s long wooden tables. Here’s the chant:

"Ann ... Ann ... strong and able ... get your elbows off the table. This is not a horse's stall, but a first-class dining hall! 'Round the tables you must go, you must go, you must go. 'Round the tables you must go, you were naughty."

It was all in good fun and I learned valuable lessonson how to live with kids from diverse backgroounds. We celebrated our differences by sharing in all sorts of activities. It was the early “rope courses” and other skils and trust-building experiences I had as an adult member of teams ranging from the Atlanta Olympic Organizing Committee to Harvard University’s Graduate Education certificate program

Black Girl in the Black Hills

I also recall riding the horses along the ridges of the South Dakota Black Hills, however, this wonderful path is no longer open to the public. It was probably not safe when I was riding on it in the late 1960s, yet it was worth it. It was beautiful to see all views of the Black Hills along the former horse trails.

As I suggest in my other blog that I write with my cousin, Good Genes Genealogy on WordPress, please take an active role in learning more about your ancestor.

Homework: Utilize the NYT article and my blog as motivation to research your family’s ancestries about the early foragers. Happy trails!

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Historic Omaha’s Metoyer’s Bar-B-Que

Research a famous and historic food “joint” in your hometown …
The famous Metoyer’s restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska

… and, stretch your ancestral research outside of your immediate family. If you are like me, it will be a delicious journey because my reach led back to my family.

Growing up in Omaha, Nebr., I loved the wonderful taste of Metoyer’s Bar-B-Cue. I also knew that it was not and easy route to become a black business owner in any North American city during the 1950s. That could have been where my story ended. Yet, the lingering great taste of the “cue” kept my genealogy quest alive.

After interviewing my mother and father, I learned that the Metoyer owners were Civil Rights Movement pals of my family. Together our families protested several injustices that today are either long forgotten or trying to emerge. Whether lunch counter and retail dress stores’ boycott or marching in favor of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Metoyers and Weads heped to bring positive change in our Midwestern community.

The home cooked story gets better: Ray Metoyer, an award-wining journalist, and I are longtime friends largely based on our same chosen profession. We refer to ourselves as “homies” and we share ‘what we can remember stories that include my family’s treat of buying the best bar-b-cue from his parents’ restaurant. Ray and I also separately landed in the metropolitan Atlanta area. He was the TV anchorman; I was financial journalist for the largest metro newspaper and later, financial weekly paper. As such, Ray and I eptitomize the phrase “small world.”

Ray Metoyer, who also launched his blog a decade ago

My challenge to budding or skilled genealogists

Try it: Explore just one aspect of your hometown involving a popular food restaurant or store in your neighborhood. Once you are satisfied with your findings, look up one of the descendants and share your fondest for their families’ establishment. Next, record it. Tell it. Do something to keep the circle unbroken by sharing little known history.

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Who am I? Part African, European and more?

I’ve always been a sure and confident person who was fortunate to be raised in a family with positive messages from my mother, father, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and distant relatives. However, we — like most African Americans — have confusing, hidden and proud heritages that are often difficult to fully uncover.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

If you or others fall in the categories of mixed heritage, I am encouraging you to keep uncovering your ancestry. One way is through DNA testing and related results. Thankfully, about 10 years ago, I completed my DNA evaluation and discovered that although I have the appearance of a full African American, my mutual families’ backgrounds produced the following:

Summary of DNA results for Ann Lineve Wead Kimbrough, updated 2021


Read every drop of DNA backgrounders

The above image is a just snapshot. There is a whole lot of drilling down to review the estimates provided by the DNA scientists. Like all who engage in DNA testing, my results unfold with enormous information found in tables, linkages, background explanations, photos and important health and social characteristics.

There are so-called bright spots on my DNA tree. For instance, my DNA chart shows a 9 percent ethnicity linkage to ancestors who lived in Scotland. This northern third region of Great Britian, displays a highlighted region, as does the United Kingdom, Belguim and Luxenbourge.

As I expected, the largest gathering of my DNA estimated ancestral roots are found in Africa to include the regions of the Southern Bantu Peoples, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Congo and Western Bantu Peoples. The United States ethnicity estimates show that Virginia is the landing place for my ancestors during the slave trade.

“Your ethnicity estimate includes regions based on two different scientific processes: the AncestryDNA reference panel and our Genetic Communities™ technology.” That’s from the Ancestry.com DNA overview of my discovered heritage.

There is so much to learn from one’s DNA. My data is constantly updated as new 3rd, 4th and even more distant relatives are added to tree. Once I receive updates, I spend time tracking whether we are related and if so, how. For instance, one of my so-called 3rd or 4th cousins, did not have direct DNA linkage to our family. Yet, her information was always pulling on our family’s DNA. After several conversations, we figured it was because her son’s father is our family is my family member. I considered our realization a victory because I would not otherwise have known about this young relative.

I have an estimated 767 4th cousins or closer relations. The DNA results are the first major step towards conducting additional research and can serve as a confirmation about whether the individual is related to you. I caution that even if limited or no DNA exists regarding a relation, consider the investigation on the linkage because slaves were often mortgaged and sold to keep their enslavers in business. For instance, in some cases, slaves from neighboring plantations were paired up with another group and sold, thereby breaking up blood families of slaves. Yet, those same individuals may have served as a “family member” in the slave community structure.

Centimorgans in your family tree

Each person who has received her/his DNA has a special number and that places you in the range or numeric grouping of your family member. That numbering is known as centimorgan The chart below supplied by FamilySearch.org, gives the numbering range for individuals to prove whether they are blood relatives.

Centimorgans or the DNA numbering system to connect relatives

According to FamilySearch.org: “All the testing companies now provide the total amount of DNA (measured in centimorgans, or cM) shared with each genetic match, information that can be vital for determining the genealogical relationship. A cM is a measurement of the distance between genetic markers on the DNA based on the expected frequency of recombination with each generation. On average, one cM equals one million base pairs, although this can vary.” This is from Family Search.org to explain the importance of cMs or centimorgans in connecting genetic matches.

I am actively researching my family and along with my business partner/first cousin, Mark Owen, we will explore many African American and Afro Caribbean tenealogy family topics with more depth in our upcoming e-book series.

Stay tuned to this blog for more information about our August 1, 2021 debut!

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How Our Ancestors Influence Future Careers: Thank you, Poet Gwendolyn Brooks

There are ancestors who have called my name through the ethers of my dreams when I was a young girl growing up in Omaha, Nebraska. I heard the spirit of Bessie Coleman, and I imagined myself becoming the second African American woman to soar in the skies as she did. However, I was discouraged from that dream and a few more.

I found solace in writing. My retreat was to write in my daily journals. I was fortunate to learn of a poet whom I could identify with since she was African American, born in the Midwestern state next to mine (Kansas), and she wrote about a city that I adored — Chicago.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Gwendolyn Brooks was born on this day — June 7 — in 1917. In 1950, she became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for her second book of poetry, Annie Allen, which chronicles the evolution of a young Black girl into womanhood in the community of Bronzeville on the near southside of Chicago, Illinois.

Pultizer Prize-winning book!

Bronzeville is an exciting book for a young person to read.


I eagerly sought biographies or any form of storytelling to learn of the everyday lives of Brooks and others who have passed onto their ancestral homes. Brooks’ life was changed at 6 months old when her family moved from Kansas to Chicago. She called the Windy City home until her transitition in December 2000.

There are so many highlights of her personal and professional life that the space in this blog is limited. Here are a few:

Honors and legacy

Sara S. Miller’s 1994 Bronze Portrait Bust Of Gwendolyn Brooks
1946, Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry
1946, American Academy of Arts & Letters Award
1950, Pulitzer Prize in Poetry
1968, appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois, a position she held until her death in 2000
1976, the Shelley Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America
1985, selected as the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, an honorary one-year position whose title was renamed the next year to Poet Laureate
1988, inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame
1989, recipient, Life Time Achievement Award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
1989, awarded the Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement by the Poetry Society of America
1992, awarded the Aiken Taylor Award by the Sewanee Review
1994, chosen as the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Jefferson Lecturer, one of the highest honors in American literature and the highest award in the humanities given by the federal government.
1994, Recipient of the National Book Foundations’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
1995, presented with the National Medal of Arts
1995, honored as the first Woman of the Year chosen by the Harvard Black Men’s Forum
1995, received the Chicago History Museum “Making History Award” for Distinction in Literature
1997, awarded the Order of Lincoln award from The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, the highest honor granted by the State of Illinois[15]
Brooks also received more than 75 honorary degrees from colleges and universities worldwide.[citation needed]

Legacy
1970: “For Sadie and Maud” by Eleanor Holmes Norton, included in Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings From The Women’s Liberation Movement (1970), quotes all of Brooks’ poem “Sadie and Maud”[16][17]
1970: Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois[18]
1995: Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary School, Aurora, Illinois
1990: Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing, Chicago State University[19]
2001: Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, Chicago, Illinois
2001: Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, Harvey, Illinois[20]
2002: Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, Oak Park, Illinois
2003: Gwendolyn Brooks Illinois State Library, Springfield, Illinois
2002: 100 Greatest African Americans[21]
2004 Gwendolyn Brooks Park named by the Chicago Park District, 4542 S. Greenwood Ave. Chicago IL 60653
2005: Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, Bolingbrook, Illinois
2012: Honored on a United States’ postage stamp.[22]
Bibliography[edit]
Negro Hero (1945)
The Mother (1945)
A Street in Bronzeville (1945)
The Children of the Poor (1949)
Annie Allen (1950)
Maud Martha (1953) (Fiction)
Bronzeville Boys and Girls (1956)
The Bean Eaters (1960)
Selected Poems (1963)
A Song in the Front Yard (1963)
We Real Cool (1966)
In the Mecca (1968)
Malcolm X (1968)
Riot (1969)
Family Pictures (1970)
Black Steel: Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali (1971)
The World of Gwendolyn Brooks (1971)
Aloneness (1971)
Report from Part One: An Autobiography (1972) (Prose)
A Capsule Course in Black Poetry Writing (1975) (Prose)
Aurora (1972)
Beckonings (1975)
Other Music (1976)
Black Love (1981)
To Disembark (1981)
Primer for Blacks (1981) (Prose)
Young Poet’s Primer (1981) (Prose)
Very Young Poets (1983) (Prose)
The Near-Johannesburg Boy and Other Poems (1986)
Blacks (1987)
Winnie (1988)
Children Coming Home (1991)
Report From Part Two (1996)
In Montgomery (2000)

From a facebook post by our — Gwendolyn Brooks and me — Sorors, July 18, 2019

Gamma Zeta Chapter/Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc

  Triumphant ThursdaysThe Glamourous Gamma Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated will spotlight the life and accomplishments of Triumphant Soror Gwendolyn Brooks, American poet, author and teacher. She was the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize. Born in Topeka, Kansas in 1917, shortly after, her family moved to Chicago. Brooks began writing at a young age with the encouragement from her mother, who said she was “going to be the lady Paul Laurence Dunbar.” She published her first poem, “Eventide” at the age of 13. By age 16, she had written and published approximately 75 poems. In the 1950’s Brooks published her first and only novel. Her first teaching experience was at the University of Chicago.She was married to Henry Lowington Blakely, Jr. until his death in 1996. They had two children. At the age of 68, Brooks was the first African American women to be appointed poetry consultant to the Library of Congress. Triumphant Soror Gwendolyn Brooks died at her Chicago home on December 3, 2000.We thank you, Triumphant Soror Gwendolyn Brooks, for your many contributions to Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority Incorporated and the world.

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Buffalo Soldiers: Black ancestors were the world’s first park rangers

When I was 10 or 11 years old, I camped in the Nebraska wilderness with my fellow campers and chaperones. The highlight of my experence was riding high atop my favorite horse along rugged and somewhat dangerous trails in the Black Hills National Park in South Dakota. I’ve since learned that my childhood suspicions were correct: The trails are so dangerous that it has long been fenced off to protect public use.

Like the fence around today’s Black Hills, the Buffalo Soldiers were the human hedge around our nation’s most precious national park lands.

Buffalo Soldiers protecting the nation’s most precious park lands. Courtesy, U.S. National Park Service.

I remember dreaming of becoming a park ranger. Perhaps my dreams were filtered from our African American ancestors who were among the nation’s and the world’s first park rangers in the early 1900s. Their origins as park rangers are traced to 1899, 1903 and 1904 in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

Why were they called Buffalo Soliders?

Based on research, it is believed that Native Americans provided the nickname for African American soldiers based on the eyesight similarities of our ancestor soliders’ wooly hair and dark appearance to that of the buffaloes that roamed the parks. It is likely the soldiers were dubbed “Buffalo” beginning in 1866 with the 9th and 10th All-Black Calvary regiments.

Our family ancestors from Hope, Arkansas were members of the 9th Calvary of Buffalo Soliders based in New Orleans and formed in 1866. We are researching whether our lineage is traced to the 25th all-Black Infantry that also fought together against the Confederate Army.



Today’s Park Service looking for Black “Soldiers” to share African American history

Today’s Park Service is woefully underrepresented with African American park rangers and interpeters. In 2019 and earlier, the Park Service reports that 80 percent of its workforce are non-African American.

There’s a rich and storied history involving African Americans and magestic park lands in the United States. Col. Charles Young, the third Black graduate of West Point University was the first African American superintendent of a national park when he accepted the assignment at Sequoia National Park in the summer of 1903. Much of his work has gone unrecognized, yet Young is credited with the paved roads in the park, new bridges that are still in use today and the basic infrastructure of the trails.

The inscription by Col. Young reads: “Yours for Race and Country, Charles Young. 22 Feby., 1919.” Photo courtesy of Library of Congress


Under his leadership, he created an infrastructure of trails, paved roads, and bridges, some of which are still in use today. He also was friend of W.E.B. DuBois. The two met while teaching at Wilberforce University in Ohio, according to the researcher and writer Nineka M. Okona in her June 2020 article in Conde Nast Traveler.

She also interviewed a modern-day Park Ranger, Shelton Johnson, who was based on Yosemite. He has dedicated his work to preserving African American history and sharing it when he can. The post-COVID opening of the parks will allow Johnson and others to deliver the stories of the stewardship and pride that Black soliders had when they served as park rangers more than a century ago.

Seventeen National Parks bear African American History

From the Jameston to MLK National Parks, I am on a mission to visit and discover more about the rich history of African Americans.

Historic Jamestowne in Colonial National Historical Park – Photo credit: National Park Service / Paula Degen

Ebenezer Baptist Church, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park – Photo credit: Library of Congress

For the full listing of the 17 sites with beautiful, historic African American connections, see https://www.travel-experience-live.com/african-american-history-national-parks/#:~:text=%2017%20National%20Park%20Service%20Sites%20That%20Commemorate,Monument%2C%20Illinois.%20Also%20known%20as%20the…%20More%20

Happy Trails!

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The net result of 104 years of Black women in tennis: The Slowe serve to Turnbough

After a literal “hot-Lanta” visit to the Sugarcreek Golf & Tennis Center to cheer for our favorite high school tennis competitor, I thought of the similarities and contrasts of days gone by.

It is likely that 15-year-old Allie Turnbough did not understand the significance of her participation in a tennis tourney that highlighted historically black colleges and universities’ interest in her future. As a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, a HBCU that also includes her mother as an alumna, we especially sensed the significance of the day. Her Dad did as well. So did my Mom.

Allie Turnbough, her Mom (my former children’s babysitter) Sondra Bryant Turnbough, and me (in summer dress) and my Mom, Angie Wead, were onlookers to an excellent day of youth tennis. The young tennis players top the photo collage. Not pictured, yet taking pictures was Antoni Turnbough, Allie’s father and Sondra’s husband.

This day was made possible because of the Black tennis pioneers: “Formed in 1916 by a group of African American businessmen, college professors and physicians, the American Tennis Association (ATA) has become the Mecca for blacks – from all walks of life – who yearn to enjoy the camaraderie and competition offered by a sport for youngsters from age 8 to 80.
Since its inception, the ATA, which is the oldest African American sports organization in the United States…”https://blacktennishistory.com/the-american-tennis-association-ata/


The ATA is still in play. During a May weekend in the Atlanta suburban community known as South DeKalb County , the ATA produced a spectacular tournament at the beautiful Sugar Creek Golf & Tennis Club. It afforded teenagers like Turnbough the opportunity to compete with some of the best tennis athletes in the metro Atlanta area. HBCU tennis scouts had the best views.

As a genealogist, I reflect on this day and weekend as a pleasing legacy to Black female tennis pioneer Slowe. The difference is that unlike Slowe who was restricted to only competing in Blacks-only tourneys, Turnbough and her friends are able to prove their talents in fully integrated settings.

U.S. Black female tennis pioneer Lucy Diggs Slowe with her racket in hand, circa 1920.

Many of us know of the great Althea Gibson, Olympic tennis champion and HBCU grad (Florida A&M University). Fewer of us know about Slowe.

Lucy Diggs Slowe

Born in Berryville, Virginia on July 4, 1885, Slowe made history as the winner of the first ATA National Women’s Singles Championship in 1917. This victory made her the first African American woman to win a major sports title. On January 15, 1908 Slowe and nine other woman founded the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. This organization has become one of the most influential association of black woman in the world. In 1919, she worked with District of Columba officials to create the first junior high school in the system. Slowe served as principal of this school for three years. In 1922, she became the first Dean of Women at Howard University. In 1923, Slowe became the founder and president of the National Association of College Women. In 1929, she founded the Association of Deans of Women and Advisors to Girls in Negro Schools (NAWDACS). https://theundefeated.com/features/black-tennis-history-timeline/ This timeline is worth checking out. All of the Black tennis greats are included in this listing and short stories.


As for Slowe, I love the most profound summary bio of her https://ivyleague.com/sports/2017/7/28/history-blackhistory-2011-12-lucy-diggs-slowe.aspx. She was one of the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. on Howard University’s campus in 1907-08. She is also from the “Divine Nine” family royalty of founders as her cousin, Elder Watston Diggs, was one of the founders of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. in 1911. Her founding of schools and academic achievements are also well described in the bio summary.

Finally, young Turnbough also comes from sports and social activism legacy. Her grandfather, Charles Bryant, uncles and cousins are (grandfather Bryant has passed) proven, top athletes. https://omaha.com/sports/huskers/bryant-family-history-comes-full-circle-but-not-in-nebraska-red/article_cc6dd3d5-22c4-56c5-9c64-c58e3d57eac5.html.

https://leoadambiga.com/2011/12/09/soul-on-ice-man-on-fire-the-charles-bryant-story-from-my-omaha-black-sports-legends-series-out-to-win-the-roots-of-greatness/

Enjoy the game, Allie.

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M to the M: Happy Birthday, Ancestor Malcolm X: Omaha’s Malcolm to Monty

Monty also appeared in various roles in the 1992 Malcolm X movie co-produced by his college buddy, Spike Lee and others.

May 19th is the birthday of Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little in my hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. In some ways, man who joined the ancestors, Malcolm X, passed a torch of truth, civility, courage, creativity and leadership to “homeboy” Monty Ross, award-winning and yet, unsung filmmaker.

Hands-down the best commercial movie depicting the life of Malcolm was co-produced by Monty during his years as an executive with New York-based Forty Acres and a Mule, founded by Spike Lee.

Monty and I grew up in the same Nebraska city and graduated from the same Georgia college. We remain close friends today.

In honor of Malcolm’s birthday, learn more about Monty who is an unsung hero, wise man and superior creative producer, editor, director, teacher in the filmmaking business. Below is a piece in 1988 that I wrote for our hometown magazine.

Happy birthday, Ancestor Malcolm. Happy birthday to my twin children, John and Jocelyn Kimbrough, and to my cousins, Lori Owen and Lisa Lewis. May 19 is a big day in our lives.

“Malcolm X” — the movie was co-produced by Filmmaker Monty Ross, born in same hometown as Malcolm X.
It was my honor to write this article about Monty Ross, my college classmate, hometown buddy and unsung hero. #Omaha

More about Malcolm X, including celebrations in Omaha and other parts:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProudtobefromNorthOmaha/permalink/4005126076202873

https://www.facebook.com/MisterBlakk

https://www.facebook.com/MalcolmXOfficial

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How do I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day when you are not in a good space? There’s a way with a little help from my friends

My other Moms — the Omaha group include (clockwise) Mrs. Patten, Mrs. McGruder and Mrs. Bryant. Mrs. Bryant just left us to join her husband and all the other great ancestors. Thank you for allowing me to stand tall and upon your shourlders. I love you-all.

I have friends and family members whose mothers have joined the ancestors. I honor them on this day.

My dear friends and family members who never gave physical birth to children are also honored by me as they “mother” so many.

Happy Mother’s Day to my family and friends who bid farewell (for now) to their spouses and children. Those memories are honored by me.

There are also special almost-Moms, Dads who are the unsung Mothers-in-the-gap, foster Moms and step Moms who I especially honor.

Finally, I have family and friends who do not always receive in-person, voice-to-voice “Happy Mother’s Day” greetings from family and friends. They barely receive greeting cards from them. I honor them for rembering the reasons why they are lovingly called Mom, Mama, Mommy, Big Mama, GMa, Mimi.

How do I wish any of the aforementioned groups “Happy Mother’s Day” and have them feel loved? I still say and write the words to them.

Yet, there are some authors — my friends — who have penned beautiful words that offer hope, comfort, care, love, space for grieving and more.

Try one of Rahman’s poems, or any of Rev. Jennifer’s self-care tips, or Oprah’s and Dr. Perry’s truths about trauma.

Consider what Oprah and I often say and do: ‘Connect the dots’ on this Mother’s Day. Here’s my gentle advice:

Author Rahman Johnson is a PhD. student, college professor, journalist, businessman, model and more. I love the poems about his mother and family.https://www.rahmanjohnson.com
Jennifer Eichelberger is a wonderful soul who is a minister, musician, author, broadcast journalist and administrator. https://www.jennifereichelberger.com/
Oprah and I were working journalists at the same time in different markets. She honored my presidency of the Atlanta Assocaition of Black Journalists by being the fundraising “reason. ” We raised the highest amount money for our student scholarship. She was on her way to unseating a popular TV talk show host and begin her outstanding career. She also hired some of my former students as interns.https://www.amazon.com/What-Happened-You-Understanding-Resilience/dp/1250223180
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Juneteenth is coming! Check out this listing of two great activities

PORTSMOUTH — The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire will commemorate Juneteenth 2021 on June 17, 18 and 19 with the theme “Found Lineage: Celebrating African American Roots and Branches.” The current debate around race is coinciding with a technological phenomenon: the extraordinary growth of DNA testing, along with the meaning of these results on concepts of lineage and race. The ease of access to this scientific testing has led people on a journey to delve deeper into their roots and to fill out the branches of their family tree.

While the research has brought some remarkable stories of reconciliation to the public, the data collected through our genes has demonstrated the brutality of America’s history.  A recent study shows that, while the majority of enslaved people brought to the Americas were male, enslaved women had a disproportionate impact on the gene pool of their descendants. There is much evidence of the systematic rape and sexual exploitation of enslaved Black women.https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/2021/05/04/black-heritage-trail-new-hampshire-announces-juneteenth-events/4927699001/

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire Juneteenth celebration's theme will be "Found Lineage: Celebrating African American Roots & Branches."

With a focus on African American genealogy and research, this year’s Juneteenth celebration offers a series of programs that examine the connection between the emerging knowledge of our DNA and the historical events in the Black community.  

Juneteenth is the oldest known nationally celebrated event commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that, as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” However, it was not until June 19, 1865, two years later, when the U.S. Army took possession of Galveston Island in Texas and began a war against defenders of slavery, that the enslaved people in Galveston could begin their journey toward freedom.

Eastern Bank, ReVision Energy, People’s Bank, the University of New Hampshire, The Music Hall, McLane Middleton and Centrus Digital are generous sponsors for this year’s celebration.

The Juneteenth schedule of events includes a virtual workshop “Finding Our Roots: Researching Black History and Genealogy on Thursday, June 17; a live concert “Feeling Good: N’Kenge Celebrates African American Sopranos” at The Music Hall in Portsmouth on Friday, June 18; a free virtual panel discussion, “In Art of the Story: Exploring How SNA Powers a Changing Narrative on Saturday, June 19 ay 10 a.m. following by a livestreamed performance “Dance of the Ancestors: Ritual, Chants, Drumming and Movement” from the Portsmouth African Burying Ground at 3 p.m.


Next

We Encourage All Attendees to Wear a Mask and Maintain Social Distancing per CDC Guidelines!

This is an Outdoor and Indoor Celebration.

The Tri-State Expo and  Dothan Civic Center Have Taken Extraordinary Precaution to Ensure Public Safety.Special Junteenth Hotel Rate

What is Juneteenth…

Two years after Abraham Lincoln declared the end of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation  (January 1,1863) African Americans in Texas were still in slavery. It was not until June 19,1865, that African Americans in Texas finally learned that slavery had been abolished …they began to celebrate with prayer, song, dance, and feasting.

General Admission balcony seats are on sale now $25! 

Floor seats are on sale now  $35! 

Purchasing a ticket will give you access in and out the Dothan Civic Center all day during the Juneteenth Celebration. You will sample cuisines from three amazing chefs from Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. As well as access balcony or floor seats to enjoy the stage Play, “From His Prison Bed to Yours” at 6:00PM

Come and ENJOY!

OutDoor Celebration

All Outdoor Events Are Free to the General Public!

JUNETEENTH

Parade on Main Street in Dothan, AL

To Participate in Dothan’s Historic

 Juneteenth Parade

Register Here

Marching band drummers perform in school

Other Free Outdoor Events

Outdoor vendors

Kids Zone 

Live Music

Live Dance Performance and much more

Featuring

juneteenth outdoor fashion show

Fall/winter collection at

poplar head park

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adamus.JPG

General Admission balcony seats are on sale now $25! 

Floor seats are on sale now  $35! 

Purchasing a ticket will give you access in and out the Dothan Civic Center all day during the Juneteenth Celebration. You will sample cuisines from three amazing chefs from Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. As well as access balcony or floor seats to enjoy the stage Play, “From His Prison Bed to Yours” at 6:00PM

Come and ENJOY!


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Historical, captivating pictures from HBCU life

In honor of the numerous Spring 2021 commencements where thousands of HBCU students were honored with bachelor’s to doctorate to JD degrees, here’s a look back via the National Archives wonderful collection.

Here are just a few of the captures:

From Atlanta University …
From Tuskegee University …
From Dillard University …
From Talladega College …
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Pt. 2 Honoring HBCU college graduates

You are special. Black college graduates are especially important during times of pandemics and in the post-pandemic era.

There is a major push to help prepare our students of today for employment and careers of “tomorrow.” Tomorrow has arrived. Are we ready? Let’s ensure our legacy and that we are able to capture experiences for generations to come. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/reports/2021/04/22/498408/preparing-students-color-future-workforce/.

The following pictorial are of HBCU grads who are advancing in their career fields. If you can identify them (or if it is you), connect and tag the person and HBCU.

Hint: This Orlando native is living on the west coast. Living and working in his best life!
Hint: The glorious lady in the green gown made her heavenly transition last year. She is my Soror and the lady she is helping has also moved on to become our ancestor. Her name is Maya Angelou. Now name the tall lady and her undergraduate university.
Hint: She is a lady claimed now with our ancestors. She attended my sister institution in the Atlanta University Center, and remains my Soror-in the chapter beyond.
Hint: She is an actor, director and producer. Last year, she married a fabulous man.
Hint: He was a metro Atlanta All-Star football standout. He played football at a university and is now a proud grad with a great job ahead of him.
Hint: He is the pastor of a large and productive Atlanta-based church that regularly features a celebrity minister who …”Save My Life” shows are popular.
Hint: A superb photographer who is a member of the Divine Nine. Florida native.
Hint: These ladies are graduates of the same Florida university. Both love broadcast journalism.
Hint: We both were layered up for the “hawk” in the Windy City, yet we were classmates in a much warmer climate.
Hint: He is a TV reporter in a large market. He was once-upon-a-time, an anchor for his alma mater’s TV station and started his work in the same small market as big-time sports broadcaster Pam Oliver.
Hint: The president of this Nebraska Alpha Eta Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. was “made” at my alma mater.
Hint: My “brother” in the chapter beyond is in the center of this great photo with his Morris Brown College chapter brothers
Hint: Which schools did my nephews graduate from … the schools are not making up the backdrop of this photo
Hint: Hardest one perhaps. I was the advisor to the later group of these young ladies while I was dean of a certain Southern university’s School.

Enjoy and interact!

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Turning the page on access to historic newspapers to trace black ancestory

Free. Public. Accessible.

Free and public access to historic newspapers reporting about African Americans during those challenging reseach years — 1880 to the 1920s and beyond — is available thanks to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

How to accomplish your new searches? It is straightforward:

  1. Go to https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ and type in “African Americans” or “Black genealogy” or something similar in the search bar.
  2. Further sort your search about loved ones or general history.
Time to get started with black ancestry research through the free offferings.
Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

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“Civil” rights in different times

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Dad speaking to predominately white folk on civil rights in April 1968
Rodney S. Wead speaks to a group in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska in April 1968, one month after he was beaten until bloodied. (Photographer unknown)

I was 10 years old in 1968 and it seemed the world was on fire. In some ways, it was.

The bad:

  • In March, racist U.S. Presidential Candidate and Alabama Governor George Wallace spoke at a campaign rally in Omaha, Nebraska that resulted in peaceful protestors — including my Dad — being brutally beaten by his private security officers.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in April.
  • U.S. Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy was assinated later that year.

The good:

  • The landmark, U.S. Civil Rights Act was passed.
  • NASA’s Apollo 8 orbited the moon.
  • Although harsh to listen to, all sides of political and societal issues were heard by the opposing voices.

My father, a bonafide peacemaker who worked his “day” job to benefit his family, spoke in civil tones and tenor. His colleagues did the same. Oh how we long for the good old days!

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The similarities: 1918 Pandemic and today’s COVID-19 health crises

As we consider moving from B.C. –before coronavirus  — to some semblance of societal normalcy after the 2021 pandemic is declared gone, I’ve often pondered how my family survived similar and perhaps worst conditions during 1918-19.

Black nurses saved our ancestors during the 1918 – 1920 pandemic

https://theundefeated.com/features/in-1918-and-2020-race-colors-americas-response-to-epidemics/


Is it 1918 or 2021?*

As we consider moving from B.C. –before coronavirus  — to some semblance of societal normalcy after the 2021 pandemic is declared gone, I’ve often pondered how my family survived similar and perhaps worst conditions during 1918-19.

In 1918, the year that my late maternal grandmother, Mary Helen Wilkes (later Owen and Douthy became her married names)  was born in Springfield, Mo. on a sunny April day. A health pandemic was raging.

My late great-grandmother, Edna Wilkes Robinson, was fortunate to receive special care from our large family. My family provided vigilant attention to protecting the newborn from the outbreak. That’s all I have heard about the period involving my grandmother’s early life.  It would take at least one year for the  worst of the so-called Spanish flu pandemic to close its horrible chapter of death and lingering illnesses across the nation.

By 1919, several verified reports revealed that approximately 50 million people or one-fifth of the world population and 25 percent of the U.S. residents, were affected.  At its end, the world population life span projections dropped by 12 years due to the horrible rage of the pandemic  https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/influenza-epidemic/.
In many ways, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is identical to what occured in 1918. Virtually every corner of this world was impacted with societal and health crises.  The pandemic environment in 2020 is errily similiar to what occured during the so-called Spanish  flu of a century ago. The descrption of life in the 1918-19 period included periods of massive anxiety, frustration and fear. Some of the descriptives and visual images displayed closed schools, limited outside caregivers for children,  limitations on large gatherings in public spaces, dismal retail sales, farmers’ fiscal woes and government directives on how and when to remove the safety in shelter orders. There was debate and violent positions by loud members of the 1918 citizenry that  match protests today in favor of fully re-establishing the workplace and schools’ face-to-face routines. (See file:///E:/Nebraska%20history%20and%20flu%20epidemic%201918%20onward%20NH1957BacktoNormal.pdf). 

Effective vaccines would have been welcomed

Unlike the many folk today who are questioning whether to receive the necessary protections against the current pandemic — otherwise known as vaccinations — those living and dying during the 1918-1920 crisis would have welcomed such medical/science advancements.




Did the U.S. open too soon?
The outbreak was first detected in the spring of 1918. The “rush” to get ‘back to normal’ was cited as the cause for the next wave of the outbreak in the fall of 1918.What happened on and after Oct. 7, 1918 when the pandemic re-entered my home state of Nebraska was devastating. Death and illnesses climbed to epidemic porportions. Whether in the Midwest or other parts of the country, the realities were the same: Limited to no traditional acitivites during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s (1919) holiday seasons.  The year 1919 opened up with the virus waning, yet still active across the nation. 
I have found that history is a wonderful teacher. If we are willing to let the ‘student (today) meet the teacher (historical evidence), we can learn more about how to cope and effetively survive during such times of uncertainity.

Some lessons for today from yesterday

1. Find out what’s true and what’s not. Debunk myths and move forward with great information. Here’s a good source about the myths of the pandemic of 1918
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ten-myths-about-1918-flu-pandemic-180967810/

2. How did the U.S. President and his administration handle the 1918 pandemic challenges

https://meaww.com/the-great-american-cover-up-did-woodrow-wilson-facilitate-the-outbreak-of-the-spanish-infleunza

https://phoreveryoung.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/the-spanish-flu-epidemic-the-worst-government-cover-up-in-the-history-of-the-world-that-killed-over-20-million-people/

3. Take advantage of quality and helpful medical, personal adjustment and health information delivered via multimedia outlets. For instance, some federal agencies offer a wealth of information to help the collective “us” live through the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions and more. Here are a few.
https://www.nrdc.org/experts/joel-scata/fema-takes-covid-19

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2020/04/15/celebrating-invasive-plant-pest-and-disease-awareness-month-your-children

https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osha/osha20200309

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2020/04/where-women-business-owners-can-turn-for-covid-19.html?page=all

Letter carrier in New York wearing mask for protection against influenza. New York City, October 16, 1918. Letter carriers, mass transit workers, and others who came in contact with the public, were especially vulnerable to disease. Wearing a face mask helped them avoid contagion: National Archives at College Park, MD. Record number 165-WW-269B-15

4. Grieving and buying the dead in 1918
https://www.history.com/news/spanish-flu-pandemic-dead

https://www.inquirer.com/news/coronavirus-spanish-flu-1918-philadelphia-camac-mortician-funeral-home-20200428.html

5. Taking care of family, oneself
https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2020/04/how-did-society-emerge-after-1918-spanish-flu-pandemic-and-what-we-learn-about-reopening-ohio-after-coronavirus.html

Out of one “pan” and into another

My journey of seeking insight about the 2020 coronovirus outbreak led me to pages and footage of 1918. That is also the health turbulent year that my grandmother Helen Wilkes was born in Springfield, Mo. https://www.ozarksalive.com/covid-19-reminds-of-1918-spanish-flu-pandemic/.

The first”Safe in Shelter” or ‘Stay at Home’  directive from my current home, prompted me to sit still and wonder how  my grandmother — we called her Mama Helen — survived her infancy during the widespread outbreak in Missouri and her eventual home of Omaha, Nebraska. . I have thought a lot about my great-grandmother, Edna Robinson, who brought baby Helen into this world of a flu epidemic. My great-grandmother worked as a domestic in a private home. How did she care for her daughter. How did my other family members live through this crisis?
I am left without answers to my natural queries. It also never occured to me to ask my great-grandmother, grandmother and other relatives who were alive during that deadly period about their experiences. Who knew that the global citizenry would experience such devastation. The best solutions to my questions has been to pour through lots of research from video and audio remembrances and lots of periodicals. 
WILKS FAMILY PHOTO
My grandmother, Helen Wilkes and her mother and a large gathering of our family at home in Springfield, Missouri in the 1920s. Source: Personal collection

“New Normal”
No matter what you may make of the current/2020 period of social distancing, hyper attention to health and safety measures and mounting cases of those sick with COVID-19 and worse, we are living and creating our “new normal.”

It’s not pretty, yet it is a great time of reflective exercises. Thank the health care professionals, embrace your close-knit family ties, learn something along with the children who are in school via virtual settings, good deeper in your spiritual journey, read or listen to books on tape, count all of your blessings and remain alert for nuisances that shift your thinking to flexible survival modes. I take comfort in knowing that many of our families overcomed huge obstacles that included no chance for a vaccine as we are now afforded that possibility. #onlythestrongsurvive.

*I originally wrote this column a year ago. I updated the current year reference to 2021 and vaccine information

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Current hurricane paths follow the same route as the African Slave Trade. Hmmm

This post was researched and written by a great Sis who writes “Dat Nola Chic”

DAT NOLA CHIC

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Hurricanes and African Slave Trade : What’s real?

This recent Hurricane season has captured the world’s attention and have us all questioning what the experts really know, if anything at all and the talk Hurricane’s and Slavery. Which leads me to ask why would one believe such as story as Africans being angry hundreds of years later and showing that anger by releasing the spirit of a horrible hurricane to destroy and take lives over all these years.

The only correlation I have found was that both had the same start. It has been proven that Hurricanes that most are formed around the coast Africa and follow the same path as slave ships .

There are African-American folktales about Hurricanes being the energy source of our ancestors; stolen Africans, beaten and lost at sea. Can Hurricanes be a mythical avenger that comes to right the wrongs of our ancestors? Souls of the sea, who unleash their wrath annually unto their oppressors?

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Is there a connection between the Atlantic Slave Trade Routes and the path taken by hurricanes? If so, what about those who did not die while en route, but made it to live out their lives as slaves? What vengeance do they get?wp-image-252553052

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Some would like to see it that way, but a Hurricane like all natural disasters do not discriminate. I would hope that if a spell of sort was cast into the ocean in honor of my ancestors that its effects would not affect black people. It would be irresponsible and cruel of them to call upon this mythical storm to be released in the same direction of  their loved ones.

Yes, they traveled the same path as Hurricanes, but wouldn’t that mean they were affected by Hurricanes as well? Maybe, they prayed that the oceans would swallow the entire ship so that they may have rest and peace, not this hoodoo stuff.

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I do not like all the hype about an ocean full of angry African souls who have not found peace and are out for revenge. It’s hard being alive seeing all the suffering just from this past Hurricane season, but to have people speak highly about my ancestors in this manner is heartbreaking.

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Hurricanes bring death, destruction and suffering to all people no matter race, economical or social status. Katrina proved that the majority of people affected where poor black people. Yet, there’s the talk of an angry oppressed African spirit of the sea?

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Katrina also had religious folks saying, New Orleans was struck in such a manner, because of all the sin in our city.. I actually stopped attending church after a pastor used the fate of my city for his sermon. I wonder what they will say now? Texas is a cowboy redneck state, a big one at that and Florida follows suit.

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No human wants to see others suffering, especially when it can happen to them. In saying that my ancestors would want to inflict the suffering that people are enduring after these Hurricanes is a dishonor to their spirits. To say that, they would be calling them inhuman, uncaring, unloving and the list goes on. Why would we agree in saying they would want someone to suffer, because they did? I have felt my share of heartache, feeling wronged and victimized, but I would never want another person to go through what I went through not even my oppressor.

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I do not think any of us can just simply go through our day without even a thought of what our fellow citizens are going through. None of us are immune to disaster, there’s no sum of money that will save Mr.Billionaire’s life or his property in comparison to ours. This is not Black/White Lives Matters, this is All Lives Matters and we must at least show compassion to those going through right now.

I can’t imagine what my ancestors went through while enduring whatever storm was in their path, but today I can close my eyes and picture the elderly people in Texas. They do not share my culture or skin color, but they represented exactly what it means to endure suffering. They were living in a disaster, in fear, uncertain if they were sitting in their actual  water grave. They were calm, possibly praying that their families were safe and sound while they sat waist deep in flood waters. I’m pretty sure had they lost their lives their souls would not have been tagged with the next disaster or the tangled up in headlines, because they wanted to avenge their suffering by suing the nursing home. I believe their reactions and emotions were inline with what my ancestors felt at the time as well.

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It’s not fair to pin a natural disaster on someone’s soul, no one has that type of vengeance on their heart. Suffering is terrible. I know we all wish we could control the amount and type of it that we had to endure, but we can’t. I wish that instead of blaming a group of people for what was done that we could enjoy the benefits of all that was accomplished from it. We can learn from our ancestors past and do them a favor of not repeating it and honor them by doing better.

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Is it that important making sure the slave masters of yesteryear are held responsible or should we keep the hype up about our ancestors needing vindication via Hurricanes? Or do we learn more about emergency preparedness, push the government  to have a true emergency plan & monies for the poor, sick, elderly and animals to get out in time.  It’s proven that most people stay at home, because they do not have the resources to leave. Just like with the hospitals and nursing homes, there’s no true evacuation plan and now has proven that there should be.

A Hurricane or any other natural disaster is not a spirit, it’s Mother Nature and we have very limited knowledge as to why it happens, but from our ancestor, some may call it science, but whatever it is, we have no power or control over it. We have some knowledge on how to live and hopefully survive when it happens, but in the meantime we must assist those who are suffering from the effects of the disasters.

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A disaster comes in many forms, some of us may go through life without a severe devastation, but regardless they can be soul changing, heartbreaking and will leave scars that can not be seen with eye.

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A hurricane is formed and it travels, it does not make any sense that people are unable to receive assistance with evacuating.

My heart is so heavy for my country, for the world actually, we have to find a way to enjoy our lives and those in it. It didn’t take a nuclear bomb to destroy popular tourist destination, it wasn’t Avenge of Slaves, it was a Hurricane. I’m not sure if the Leaders of the world see that, but I do.DAT NOLA CHIC#HURRICANE ##KATRINA #HURRICANEKATRINA#LIFE #NATURALDISASTERS #LOSS #HOUSTON #KATRINA ##MIDDLEPASSAGE #SLAVES#NEWORLEANS ##SLAVERY#SLAVETRADE #TRANSATLANTIC #SLAVE

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Hurricanes and African Slave Trade : What’s real?

This recent Hurricane season has captured the world’s attention and have us all questioning what the experts really know, if anything at all and the talk Hurricane’s and Slavery. Which leads me to ask why would one believe such as story as Africans being angry hundreds of years later and showing that anger by releasing the spirit of a horrible hurricane to destroy and take lives over all these years.

The only correlation I have found was that both had the same start. It has been proven that Hurricanes that most are formed around the coast Africa and follow the same path as slave ships .

There are African-American folktales about Hurricanes being the energy source of our ancestors; stolen Africans, beaten and lost at sea. Can Hurricanes be a mythical avenger that comes to right the wrongs of our ancestors? Souls of the sea, who unleash their wrath annually unto their oppressors?

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Is there a connection between the Atlantic Slave Trade Routes and the path taken by hurricanes? If so, what about those who did not die while en route, but made it to live out their lives as slaves? What vengeance do they get?wp-image-252553052

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Some would like to see it that way, but a Hurricane like all natural disasters do not discriminate. I would hope that if a spell of sort was cast into the ocean in honor of my ancestors that its effects would not affect black people. It would be irresponsible and cruel of them to call upon this mythical storm to be released in the same direction of  their loved ones.

Yes, they traveled the same path as Hurricanes, but wouldn’t that mean they were affected by Hurricanes as well? Maybe, they prayed that the oceans would swallow the entire ship so that they may have rest and peace, not this hoodoo stuff.

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I do not like all the hype about an ocean full of angry African souls who have not found peace and are out for revenge. It’s hard being alive seeing all the suffering just from this past Hurricane season, but to have people speak highly about my ancestors in this manner is heartbreaking.

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Hurricanes bring death, destruction and suffering to all people no matter race, economical or social status. Katrina proved that the majority of people affected where poor black people. Yet, there’s the talk of an angry oppressed African spirit of the sea?

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Katrina also had religious folks saying, New Orleans was struck in such a manner, because of all the sin in our city.. I actually stopped attending church after a pastor used the fate of my city for his sermon. I wonder what they will say now? Texas is a cowboy redneck state, a big one at that and Florida follows suit.

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No human wants to see others suffering, especially when it can happen to them. In saying that my ancestors would want to inflict the suffering that people are enduring after these Hurricanes is a dishonor to their spirits. To say that, they would be calling them inhuman, uncaring, unloving and the list goes on. Why would we agree in saying they would want someone to suffer, because they did? I have felt my share of heartache, feeling wronged and victimized, but I would never want another person to go through what I went through not even my oppressor.

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I do not think any of us can just simply go through our day without even a thought of what our fellow citizens are going through. None of us are immune to disaster, there’s no sum of money that will save Mr.Billionaire’s life or his property in comparison to ours. This is not Black/White Lives Matters, this is All Lives Matters and we must at least show compassion to those going through right now.

I can’t imagine what my ancestors went through while enduring whatever storm was in their path, but today I can close my eyes and picture the elderly people in Texas. They do not share my culture or skin color, but they represented exactly what it means to endure suffering. They were living in a disaster, in fear, uncertain if they were sitting in their actual  water grave. They were calm, possibly praying that their families were safe and sound while they sat waist deep in flood waters. I’m pretty sure had they lost their lives their souls would not have been tagged with the next disaster or the tangled up in headlines, because they wanted to avenge their suffering by suing the nursing home. I believe their reactions and emotions were inline with what my ancestors felt at the time as well.

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It’s not fair to pin a natural disaster on someone’s soul, no one has that type of vengeance on their heart. Suffering is terrible. I know we all wish we could control the amount and type of it that we had to endure, but we can’t. I wish that instead of blaming a group of people for what was done that we could enjoy the benefits of all that was accomplished from it. We can learn from our ancestors past and do them a favor of not repeating it and honor them by doing better.

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Is it that important making sure the slave masters of yesteryear are held responsible or should we keep the hype up about our ancestors needing vindication via Hurricanes? Or do we learn more about emergency preparedness, push the government  to have a true emergency plan & monies for the poor, sick, elderly and animals to get out in time.  It’s proven that most people stay at home, because they do not have the resources to leave. Just like with the hospitals and nursing homes, there’s no true evacuation plan and now has proven that there should be.

A Hurricane or any other natural disaster is not a spirit, it’s Mother Nature and we have very limited knowledge as to why it happens, but from our ancestor, some may call it science, but whatever it is, we have no power or control over it. We have some knowledge on how to live and hopefully survive when it happens, but in the meantime we must assist those who are suffering from the effects of the disasters.

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A disaster comes in many forms, some of us may go through life without a severe devastation, but regardless they can be soul changing, heartbreaking and will leave scars that can not be seen with eye.

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A hurricane is formed and it travels, it does not make any sense that people are unable to receive assistance with evacuating.

My heart is so heavy for my country, for the world actually, we have to find a way to enjoy our lives and those in it. It didn’t take a nuclear bomb to destroy popular tourist destination, it wasn’t Avenge of Slaves, it was a Hurricane. I’m not sure if the Leaders of the world see that, but I do.DAT NOLA CHIC#HURRICANE ##KATRINA #HURRICANEKATRINA#LIFE #NATURALDISASTERS #LOSS #HOUSTON #KATRINA ##MIDDLEPASSAGE #SLAVES#NEWORLEANS ##SLAVERY#SLAVETRADE #TRANSATLANTIC #SLAVE

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Slave songs: Drumming up courage and hope

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“Roll, Jordan, Roll” was was coded for escaped slaves

The coded song for escaped slaves, “Roll, Jordan, Roll,” was one of many notable works captured by a young musicologist and published in 1867.

Lucy McKim was 19-years-old when she traveled with her abolitionist father in 1862 to the Sea Islands of Georgia for a three-week visit to check on the conditions of recently freed slaves. The piano teacher was naturally drawn to the songs being sung in different quarters by the newly freed people.

She began to chronicle their songs and in 1867, the then-wife of Wendell Phillip Garrison, published her work with two collaborators. The compelling story of her life and work is found in many journals and books.

Lucy McKim Garrison

Truly “Songs of Sorrow” as viewed by Lucy McKim Garrison, yet freedom songs for slaves

Courtesy of “Documenting the American South,” UNC-Chapel Hill LibraryLucy McKim Garrison was a musicologist born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 30, 1842.

She was born to James Miller and Sarah Allibone McKim. Her parents and other family members were known throughout the abolitionist community and had connections to Quakerism. Garrison received her education in Philadelphia but later moved to Perth Amboy, New Jersey, to attend the Eaglewood School. At the time that Garrison attended Eaglewood, the Grimke sisters were managing it and the school was attended by many abolitionists. She taught piano in Philadelphia and at the Eaglewood School.

During the Civil War in 1862, Garrison traveled with her father, who worked for the Port Royal Relief Committee, to South Carolina to investigate conditions of recently freed slaves. For three weeks, they stayed in the Sea Islands where she listened to the songs of the freedmen and attempted to put the songs into musical notation. The public did not receive her work well upon some of her first publications, so the project was put on hold.

Lucy and Wendell Phillips Garrison, William Lloyd Garrison’s third son, became engaged in 1864 and married on December 6, 1865. In 1867, Garrison gave birth to their first son, Lloyd, and also created Slave Songs of the United States in collaboration with William Francis Allen and Charles Pickard Ware. The publication is considered one of the best sources of slave songs. The couple’s son Philip was born in 1869, followed by their daughter, Katherine, in 1873. Garrison died on May 11, 1877, following a paralytic stroke at age 34. She is buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Orange, New Jersey.

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Here’s another great work about this great lady.

https://udayton.edu/magazine/2020/02/power-of-a-song-in-a-strange-land.php

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Laying down the tracks for the Liggins Legacy!

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CMdc94rHSuU/?igshid=1my9jvqrxqky7

Alfred Liggins, CEO, TV/RadioONE,https://www.thehistorymakers.org/biography/alfred-liggins-iii announced a significant project to benefit Richmond, Virginia and beyond.

The celebration of our ancestor’s history begins right now with visionary folk. I can see and feel the future in African American economic, ecological, social, educational, health and wellness, et al.

Congrats to the principal visionary of this empire, Cathy Hughes!

She remains our Omaha, Nebraska native powerhouse!

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Watch 90+-year old Xi Xi Zeta Charter Member Share History on YouTube

March 16, 2021 marked our grad chapter’s 32nd anniversary. This retro video was recorded in 2019, Lithonia, Georgia.

My Legacy Soror Mom are among XiXiZeta’s founding. Listen, learn and love!


Here’s our history as scribed by Mom, Angie Wead and my Sister-Mom, Mary Martin-Blackmon.

FOUNDING FACTS:

ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY, INC

XI XI ZETA CHAPTER, LITHONIA, GEORGIA

MARCH 16, 1989

Soror Dove  Dr. Genova H. Lawrence saw a need to form a Zeta Phi Beta chapter in the Lithonia, Georgia area, when several women approached her with an interest in  becoming Zetas.  She had also met other graduate Sorors, who wanted to reclaim.  Shen then called a meeting at her home to organize a chapter, after she met for several months with prospective Sorors and graduate Sorors.  Note:  Soror Lawrence attended all Boule’s and met the five founders and three Sigmas (who assisted in the founding of the Sorority).

The Xi Xi Zeta Chapter was organized in 1988 and chartered on March 16, 1989 in Lithonia, Georgia by the Georgia State Director, Soror Bettye H. Shelling (Triumphant).  Chartering Sorors:  Dr Genova Lawrence, Veronica Lawrence-Bacote, Eula Hardiman, Ethel Chapman, Yvonne Mazyck.  Sorors immediately joining the chapter:  Sorors Josephine Cloud (Triumphant), Patricia Felder, Shirley Jefferson, Arlene Hawkins, Ann Kimbrough, and Angeline Wead.

The chapter reached out to the community and started the following programs:

            The African American Cultural History Club at Bruce Street Housing .  Three Sorors – Sorors Lawrence, Felder and Cloud knocked or rang forty doorbells to talk with occupants about the program, including:

  • An Archonian Club.
  • A tutorial program.
  • Chartered the Delta Xi Undergraduate chapter at DeVry of Technology on October 14, 1989.  sig Ann Kimbrough was the Dean of Pledges.  This chapter was later to the Kappa Psi Zeta sorority chapter.
  • Sponsored a Blue Revue Pageant in 1990.  5 scholarships and 15 awards were presented.

Page 2 – Xi Xi Zeta 30th Anniversary

  • A Saddler Club was organized with our youth group on Soror Lawrence’s Nova Glen farm.
  • Provided Thanksgiving Dinner, for several years, to the residents of Bethel A.M.E. Church Towers, assisted by Sigma Brothers – Rev. Joel Miles, Sr.(triumphant), Dr. Rufus Lawrence (triumphant, Brother Bruce Blackmon, and other volunteers.
  • Chapter Sorors have attended and/or contributed to all Georgia State Conferences, Regional Conferences, Boule’s and ZHope projects.
  • Participation/support in the annual Stork’s Nest Blitz, in March for Babies/March of Dimes, Relay for Life, community walks, and other community activities.
  • Representatives-Annual Founder’s Day Sigma/Zeta Brunch Committee

Chapter Basilei (1989 – Present):  Sorors Dr. Genova Lawrence, Dr. Angela Johnson, Angela Garrett (Triumphant), Deborah McClanahan, and Faye Rashid.

The chapter celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a Sisterhood Tea on March 16, 2019 at Soror/Dove Genova Lawrence’s home.  The event is presented on you tube, https://youtu.be/EqdH_xeq_lA

SCHOLARSHIP/SERVICE/SISTERHOOD/FINERWOMANHOOD

Submitted for all record-keeping by Sorors Angeline C. Wead and Mary Martin-Blackmon

Mom (Angie Wead) and me during the 2019 activities and photos.
Soror Mary Martin-Blackmon during a pre-COVID-19 activity with our chapter at her church in Lithonia, GA
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How preserving his family’s history led to Atlanta’s foremost architect and me writing his story …

Genealogy is a complicated, rewarding journey. Fortunately, my friend, the award-winning Atlanta Architect Oscar Harris, superbly retained the information about his parents who were black pioneer pharmacists and operated a historical shop in a famous black neighborhood in Pittsburgh, PA.

What may family genealogists learn from Oscar?

  • Preserve, don’t just save, your family’s current records.
  • Ask lots of questions of your elders and be observant.
  • Remember your friends, neighbors and relatives’ stories.
  • Plan to report or author your family’s story, especially through an autobiography.

Here’s another site where Oscar’s story is published. Since the book, Oscar!< was published in 2013, Oscar’s “retirement” career has been undone as he is often sought after for lectures, architecture leadership, media articles, teaching and other fun projects.

Working with Oscar to record his story, pour through thousands of documents, learn so much about a once shy young man’s overcoming nature, his wife gave me a great “warning” and words of advice: “Oscar loves the process,” Sylvia Harris informed me.

For that, I am thankful.

Below is an article written by my dear friend, Sidmel Estes, who transitioned a few years ago. She too was a friend of Oscar in addition to being a visionary and solid TV executive producer who created “Good Day Atlanta” on Fox5 and was the first female president of the National Association of Black Journalists.


Here’s another site where Oscar’s story is published. Since the book, Oscar!< was published in 2013, Oscar’s “retirement” career has been undone as he is often sought after for lectures, architecture leadership, media articles, teaching and other fun projects.

Oscar! A review and arts

By (the late) Sidmel Esteshttps

https://patch.com/georgia/cascade/oscar-harris-breaks-through-barriers

Few people can say they helped shape the look of a city. But Oscar L. Harris, Jr, founder and president of Turner Associates can make that claim. From Centennial Olympic Park to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, you can see the imprint of Oscar Harris. The new book, “Oscar! The Memoir of a Master Architect” takes you behind the scenes of crucial negotiations that opened the door for many minority architects and firms. It is no-olds barred account of what it took to break into one of the most exclusive professional circles…architecture. Many of the stories are not pretty and hard to take, but reflect the passion, aspirations and determination of a true artist who turned his creative energies into tangible works of beauty and substance.https://patch.com/georgia/cascade/oscar-harris-breaks-through-barriers

Oscar started his business at a time when African Americans were denied and insulted. With frankness and a proven track record, Turner Associates went from nothing to perhaps the most successful and diverse portfolio architectural firms in America. Oscar lays it all on the table as he gives insight into what it took to revitalize Underground Atlanta, re-build major government buildings and justice centers, retail centers, create “the look” of the 1996 Olympic Games and so much more.

Oscar offers a blueprint of what he envisions for the future to be able to turn  around in his profession in particular, but our society at large. The book also includes spectacular sketches, drawings and photographs of some of Oscar’s biggest accomplishments.

Sidmel Estes, owner of Break Through Media Consulting

Separately, here’s another link: https://butteratl.com/how-black-architect-oscar-harris-built-modern-atlanta/

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First black-owned AM/FM radio station was launched in my hometown …

You have to be somewhat of a detective to capture Black genealogy to share the best histories of our ancestors.

Omaha, Nebraska!

As we seek clues to establishing our black ancestry ties, always turn to the non-traditional sources such as this playlist from the nation’s first black-owned and operated radio station that was found in my hometown, KOWH-AM/FM.

Why?

This particular play list of February 1972 is more than a ranking of the top tunes among black radio listeners. It provides the first and last names, the titles and photos of the DJs and management involved in KOWH-AM/FM’s day-to-day operations.

There are a lot of themes and other nuisances associated with this playlist. For example, you can tell that there was a background sheet as the “Sound of Soul” and “Soul Men” are among the best placed graphics. The sheet was obviously placed in a typewriter as the strong impressions reveal the strength of the stroke keys.

You have to be somewhat of a detective to capture Black genealogy to share the best histories of our ancestors.


Family kudos: My Dad, Dr. Rodney S. Wead, was the initiator of KOWH-AM/FM. He was able to convince other folk to raise the $500K capital needed for the downpayment of the radio station in the early 1970s. The result was a world-class radio station that I loved.

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We Are Marching (Siyahamba)

Celebrating XiXiZeta’s annual Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Finer Womanhood Celebration at St. Paul AME Church, Lithonia, GA

Zulu protest song sung by the St. Paul AME Choir.
Siyahamb’ ekukhanyen’ kwenkhos’,Siyahamb’ ekukhanyen’ kwenkhos’,Siyahamb’ ekukhanyen’ kwenkhos’ … We are marching in the light of God,We are marching in the light of God,We are marching in the light of God (see full texts below)

On the 3rd Sunday morning in February 2021, when members of my sorority gathered for our annual “Finer Womanhood” worship service, special African American history lessons were delivered in song and sermon. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., XiXiZeta Chapter members, among the congregants in virtual settings and socially distanced vehicles, received valuable tips on life’s “chain breaking.”

Herods want to stop the movement … Break the Chain, said Pastor Crawford.

When the Dr. (Medical) Rev. Marvin L. Crawford was a child, his grandmother would tell him a story about her father Joshua (pronounced Josh-u-ay) who was a slave in 1863 when the word was passed around that slaves are being set free.

The day after that announcement, Joshua was said to get up on a table and dance to the tune of a fiddler. When the year was coming to an end and New Year’s Eve arrived, gatherings of slaves “watched all night long” and at about 12:01 a.m., Pastor Crawford’s grandmother told him that the people shouted for they knew the Emancipation Proclamation would set them free from the chains of the enslaved.

“Let the chains fall off,” extoled Pastor Crawford, pastor, preacher and physician from atop his outdoors perch with the south DeKalb County (Ga) community landscape in the background.

This Sunday morning, I am visiting one of my favorite churches, greatest congregations and perhaps the hardest and smartest-working pastor in the metro Atlanta area. An Associate Professor, The Morehouse School of Medicine, who directs 3rd and 4th year students during their training at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, also ensures that his church operates a food pantry and serves the community in countless ways.

“Street” preaching

As vehicles traveled by and the cold day’s sunshine broke through, Pastor Crawford told the virtual and in-car congregants that they must be like the ancestors and Peter, whose story of jail bondage by King Herod is found in Acts 12. Peter was imprisoned by the King, who was a Jewish man, because Peter was a Christian.

“The Herods of our do the same thing” as King Herod, said Pastor Crawford. The persecution that Peter and other Christians received by the King was similar to voter suppression, quieting of voices of women, Blacks and others. It is found in the proposed laws to restrict absentee voting. The Herod affect is evidenced in the deaths of civil rights leaders, George Floyd and Ahmad Aubrey, Pastor Crawford asserted.

The goal of the chains is to “destroy movements … make voting hard and close the doors on you,” preached. Yet, watch, fight and pray.”

Peter’s prayers and those of his church members gathered at John Mark’s mother, Mary’s home,” freed Peter. The Bible reveals that angels appeared while he was asleep and removed the chains. They asked people to put on his own clothes and sandals, arise and walk out of the prison with them guarding him on each side. The prison guards did not touch him, the prison gate opened and he walked humbly and triumphantly to the place where the “saints” gathered in prayer.

Be like Peter and do not become jealous or revengeful for “that is not as God has made you. Those are not your clothes. Those are someone else’s clothes. Pull off the prison clothes ….”put on your own clothes and live,” Pastor Crawford emphasized.

He gave examples of what keeps individuals chained in their inward prisons, bondage-like.

Chains

  • Owning big houses to ‘keep up with the Joneses’
  • Complacency
  • Big houses
  • Unsafe relationships
  • Jealousy
  • Unfaithfulness
  • Fear of being fired from jobs
  • Oppressing others

How fitting that the song written and composed some 70 years ago, was sung at the start of the worship service. The Zulu folk song, Siyahamba, composed by   Andries Van Tonder, is a popular song that I learned as a child in the United Methodist Church. It is considered a protest song and a song of hope. https://www.academia.edu/30914382/Siyahamba_a_well_known_South_African_song_with_a_little_known_pa

 Zulu text

Siyahamb’ ekukhanyen’ kwenkhos’,
Siyahamb’ ekukhanyen’ kwenkhos’,
Siyahamb’ ekukhanyen’ kwenkhos’,
Siyahamb’ ekukhanyen’ kwen-,
Khanyen’ kwenkhos’,
Siyahamba, hamba,
Siyahamba, hamba,
Siyahamb’ ekukhanyen’ kwen-,
Khanyen’ kwenkhos’.
Siyahamba, hamba,
Siyahamba, hamba,
Siyahamb’ ekukhanyen’ kwenkhos’

Acts 12:6-15

 English translation

We are marching in the light of God,
We are marching in the light of God,
We are marching in the light of God,
We are marching in the light of,
The light of God,
We are marching, marching,
We are marching, marching,
We are marching in the light of,
The light of God,
We are marching, marching,
We are marching, marching,
We are marching in the light of God.

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Good research publications for African American genealogy


Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Photo by Amina Filkins on Pexels.com

One of my favorite government sources for genealogy research is the Library of Congress. The listing of library media is dated, to be sure. However, the information about our ancestors is relevant.

“The following publications include several pictures from our files and can thus be of help in locating images. Please note that only pictures credited specifically to the Library of Congress can be ordered from us. In requesting copies of these pictures, we suggest that you send a xerox of the image as well as a complete citation for the book from which it was taken (including page number).” – Library of Congress


Let’s get started

The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. Edited by Debra Newman Ham. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1993.
[LC call number: Z1361.N39L47 1993 P&P Afr-Amer]

Boime, Albert. The Art of Exclusion: Representing Blacks in the Nineteenth Century. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. [LC call number: N8232.B57 1989 P&P Afr-Amer]

Campbell, Edward D.C. Before Freedom Came: African-American Life in the Antebellum South: To Accompany an Exhibition Organized by the Museum of the Confederacy. Richmond: The Museum of the Confederacy; Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991. [LC call number: E443.B44 1991 P&P Afr- Amer]

Cashman, Sean Dennis. African-Americans and the Quest for Civil Rights, 1900-1990. New York: New York University Press, 1991. [LC call number: E185.61.C292 1991 P&P Afr-Amer]

Christopher, Maurine. Black Americans in Congress. Revised ed. New York: T.Y. Crowell, 1976. [LC call number: E185.96.C5 1976]

Creative Fire. By the editors of Time-Life Books. (African Americans, Voices of Triumph). Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, 1994. [LC call number: NX512.3.A35.A37 1994 P&P Afr-Amer]

Crew, Spencer R. Field to Factory: Afro-American Migration, 1915- 1940. Washington, D.C.: Dept. of Public Programs, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, 1987.
[LC call number: E185.6.C92 1987 P&P Afr- Amer]

Dornfeld, Margaret. The Turning Tide: From the Desegregation of the Armed Forces to the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1948-1956). New York and Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1995. [LC call number: E185.615.D654 1995 P&P Afr-Amer]

Dumond, Dwight Lowell. Antislavery: The Crusade for Freedom in America. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961. [LC call number: E441.D84 P&P Afr-Amer]

Ebony Pictorial History of Black America. 4 vols. Chicago: Johnson Pub., 1971- . [LC call number: E185.E23 P&P Afr-Amer]

Harley, Sharon. The Timetables of African-American History: A Chronology of the Most Important People and Events in African-American History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. [LC call number: E185.H295 1995 P&P Afr-Amer]

Horton, James Oliver and Lois E. Horton, eds. A History of the African American People: The History, Traditions & Culture of African Americans. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997. [LC call number: E185.H56 1997 P&P Afr-Amer]

Hughes, Langston, Milton Meltzer, and C. Eric Lincoln. A Pictorial History of Blackamericans. 4th rev. ed. of A Pictorial History of the Negro in America. New York: Crown Publishers, [1973]. [LC call number: E185.H83 1973 P&P Afr-Amer] (Many of the same images also published in: African American History: Four Centuries of Black Life. New York: Scholastic, 1990.) [LC call number: E185.H83 1990 P&P Afr- Amer]

Kaplan, Sidney. The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution, 1770-1800. Washington, D.C.: National Portrait Gallery, 1973. [LC call number: E185.96.K36 1973 P&P Afr-Amer]

Leadership. By the editors of Time-Life Books. (African Americans, Voices of Triumph). Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, 1993. [LC call number: E185.A2585 1994 P&P Afr-Amer]

Low, W. Augustus, ed. Encyclopedia of Black America. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981. [LC call number: E185.E55]

Lucas, Eileen. Civil Rights: The Long Struggle. Springfield, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1996. [LC call number: JC599.U5L78 1996 P&P Afr-Amer]

Natanson, Nicholas. The Black Image in the New Deal: the Politics of FSA Photography. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1992. [LC call number: E185.6.N245 1992 P&P Afr-Amer]

Pederson, Jay P. and Kenneth Estell, eds. African American Almanac. [Detroit]: U X L, 1994. 3 vols. [LC call number: E185.A2515 1994 P&P Afr-Amer]

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Newman, Gerald and Eleanor Newman Layfield. Racism: Divided by Color. Springfield, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1995. [LC call number: HT1521.N47 1995 P&P Afr-Amer]

Patterson, Charles. The Civil Rights Movement. New York: Facts on File, 1995. [LC call number: E185.61.P32 1995 P&P Afr-Amer]

Perseverance. By the editors of Time-Life Books. (African Americans, Voices of Triumph). Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, 1993. [LC call number: E185.A259 1993 P&P Afr-Amer]

Some Time Ago: A Historical Portrait of Black Americans from 1850-1950. Selected by Chester Higgins; text by Orde Coombs. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1980.
[LC call number: E185.S593 1980 P&P Afr- Amer]

Smith, C. Carter, ed. The Black Experience. (American historical images on file). New York: Facts on File, 1990. [LC call number: E185.B573 1990 P&P Afr- Amer]

Smith, Edward D. Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: The Rise of Black Churches in Eastern American Cities, 1740- 1877. Washington, D.C.: Published for the Anacostia Museum of the Smithsonian Institution by the Smithsonian Instituion Press, 1988. [LC call number: BR563.N4S573 1988 P&P Afr-Amer]

Vlach, John Michael. Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993. [LC call number: E443.V58 1993 P&P Afr-Amer]

Wright, Richard. 12 Million Black Voices. New York: Viking Press, 1941. [LC call number: E185.6.W9 P&P Ref]

Year’s Pictorial History of the American Negro. Maplewood, N.J.: C.S. Hammond & Company, 1965. [LC call number: E185.Y4 P&P]

Yetman, Norman R. Life Under the “Peculiar Institution”: Selections from the Slave Narrative Collection. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1970. [LC call number: E444.Y4 P&P Afr- Amer]

The Young Oxford history of African Americans. New York : Oxford University Press, 1995-1997. 11 vols. [LC call number: E185.Y68 1995 P&P – Afr-Amer]

Online Exhibits

Several Library of Congress exhibitions have drawn on Prints and Photographs holdings relating to African American history. Recent exhibitions include an “object list” that cites reproduction numbers needed for ordering photographic copies of materials through the Library of Congress Duplication Services:

How To Order Photographic Reproductions

Reproductions may be ordered through the Library of Congress Duplication Services when adequate identifying information (a reproduction number or, if none exists, the call number of the original) is provided. Requests for identifying information should be addressed to: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540-4730. Such requests are subject to the fifteen item search limit mentioned above.


Prepared by: Barbara Orbach Natanson, Reference Specialist, August, 1 998. Last revised: March 2001.
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Strength through past struggles

The times get tough. I know. Each of those times, however, I pull from the strength of my ancestors who lived, worked and sadly, feared for their families and their lives while enslaved and in the Reconstruction era through Jim Crow.

Join us for a tax deductible, exciting and basic steps to genealogy workshops beginning February 13, 2021.

Sankofa Family and Genealogy Workshop. Limited spaces. Click link to register TODAY! https://hillside.ticketspice.com/familygenealogy

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Gems from Gems


A few jewelry pieces gifted to me from my maternal grandmother, Helen “Mama Helen” Wilkes Owen Douthy.

Mama Helen, my maternal grandmother, had the most extensive jewelry collection with pieces from the 1920s – 1960s https://hobbylark.com/collecting/antique-jewelry3 that remain rare finds.

She offered a story behind just about every piece of jewelry. It is why I am to piece together so many connecting points in her life and that of our family. Her pearl necklaces from Asia, Native American pieces from Mexico and Harlem Renaissance-era bracelets and necklaces, are among the several pieces in her jewelry collection that tell me how she lived. Mama Helen continued to collect jewelry until about a month before her passing in 2008.

What she left behind and what you may locate in your relatives’ jewelry boxes is more valuable in genealogy research.

If you wish to know more about how to turn your ancestor’s home into a genealogical treasure hunt for “Road Show”-style results and for successful ancestral purposes, plan to join us for three workshops Family Genealogy Workshop – Hillside International Truth Center in February 2021. The workshops are tax deductible and all proceeds will benefit the Sankofa Hillside International Truth Center, Atlanta, GA.

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Our Family’s Civil War Contributions

At first, black soldiers are paid half of what white soldiers were paid. This was corrected in 1864, with some black units receiving back pay for their services.

Check out this great history lesson about Arkansas (my family’s home) Black Union Troops

Many former African-American slaves and freedmen from Arkansas answered President Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers to help put down the Confederate rebellion. Across the war-torn nation, 180,000 black men responded. An estimated 40,000 lost their lives in the conflict. Lincoln later credited these “men of color” with helping turn the tide of the war, calling them “the sable arm.” The official records from the U.S. government credit 5,526 men of African descent as having served in the Union army from the state of Arkansas. Between 3,000 and 4,000 additional black soldiers served in Arkansas during the war, including in heavy artillery, cavalry, and infantry regiments. In addition, black soldiers manned all of the batteries and fortifications at Helena (Phillips County) from 1864 until the end of the war in 1865.

U.S. Medals of Honor were presented to several great men who fought against all odds in the Union Army during the Civil War. Source: Wikipedia

Regiments of black soldiers were organized in Arkansas during the American Civil War as fighting units of the U.S. Army. These regiments and others were all created on May 22, 1863, when the U.S. War Department created the Bureau of Colored Troops, most commonly known at the United States Colored Troops (USCT). All of the black regiments were led by appointed white officers. On March 11, 1864, all USCT regiments were reassigned unit numbers, which historians differentiate with “old” and “new” classifications. For example, the Second Arkansas Colored Infantry became the Fifty-fourth U.S. Colored Volunteers. At first, black soldiers are paid half of what white soldiers were paid. This was corrected in 1864, with some black units receiving back pay for their services.

The Arkansas regiments included First Arkansas Battery–African Descent (Battery H, Second U.S. Colored Light Artillery), Eleventh U.S. Colored InfantryFirst Arkansas Infanty–African Descent (Forty-sixth U.S. Colored Infantry), Second Arkansas Infantry–African Descent (Fifty-fourth U.S. Colored Infantry), Third Arkansas Infantry–African Descent (Fifty-sixth U.S. Colored Infantry), Sixty-ninth U.S. Colored Infantry, Fifth Arkansas Infantry–African Descent (112th U.S. Colored Infantry), and the Sixth Arkansas Infantry–African Descent (113th U.S. Colored Infantry).

The First Arkansas Colored Infantry (Forty-sixth Colored Infantry) was assigned to the Department of the Gulf in June 1863. In addition to these regiments, other regiments of black soldiers also participated in battles and skirmishes in Arkansas. The First Kansas Colored Infantry was one such regiment. It was made up of ex-slaves from Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri. Black troops fought for the Union despite the Confederate Congress passing on May 1, 1863, a proclamation to the effect that any captured black solder fighting for the Union would be executed. Arkansas’s black regiments were garrisoned at Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Helena (Phillips County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) from late 1863 to the end of the war in 1865.

The First Arkansas Colored Regiment had its own marching song. Penned by Captain Lindley Miller of the First Arkansas, the song was sung to the tune of “John Brown’s Body” and was published in 1864. The opening stanza expressed the pride the soldiers felt in their work:

Oh, we’re the bully soldiers of the “First of Arkansas,”

We are fighting for the Union, we are fighting for the law,

We can hit a Rebel further than a white man ever saw,

As we go marching on.

Time and time again, the black soldiers proved their prowess and courage in battle. Major General James Blunt wrote after the Battle of Honey Springs in Indian Territory, in which the First Kansas Colored participated, “I never saw such fighting as was done by the Negro regiment….The question that negroes will fight is settled; besides they make better solders in every respect than any troops I have ever had under my command.” A writer for an abolitionist newspaper in Leavenworth, Kansas, remarked upon the courage of black troops at the Skirmish of Island Mound in Missouri on October 29, 1862, between Union and Confederate forces. “It is useless to talk any more of negro courage,” he wrote. “The men fight like tigers, each and every one of them, and the main difficulty was to hold them well in hand.” Writing after the battle of the Engagement at Jenkins’ Ferry on April 30, 1864, division commander Brigadier General Frederick Salomon said the black troops under his command fought with conspicuous gallantry.

At the Engagement at Poison Spring, fought on April 18, 1864, the black soldiers of the First Kansas suffered heavy casualties—117 died and sixty-five were wounded. The death toll was aggravated by the fact that Confederate soldiers executed the captured and wounded men left on the field. These atrocities were witnessed firsthand by the regiment’s white commander, Colonel James M. Williams. It also gave rise to the battle cry among his troops to “Remember Poison Spring!”

After the Engagement at Jenkins’ Ferry, fought just a few days later on April 30, 1864, an officer of the Second Kansas Colored explained, “It was a question…whether the blacks would fight.” But the black soldiers’ prowess in battle convinced not only the Confederates they would be a worthy enemy, but it also convinced many of the white soldiers who were fighting alongside them. Even the German-American soldiers of the Twenty-seventh Wisconsin, who harbored contempt for all blacks in general, agreed the black troops had done well at Jenkins’ Ferry. There were reports of black soldiers committing war atrocities, too, cutting the throats of the Confederate wounded left on the battlefield at Jenkins’ Ferry. Many black soldiers had witnessed firsthand the brutal treatment given wounded African Americans and their officers by the Confederates, and they knew they would be given no quarter.

In total, black troops fought in twenty-nine battles and skirmishes in Arkansas during the war. According to the Official Army Register of the Volunteer Force of the United States Army, 1861-1865, these battles included:

·        Arkansas River, December 18, 1864—Fifty-fourth U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Bayou Boeuf, December 13, 1863—Third U.S. Colored Cavalry

·        Big Creek, July 26, 1864—Battalion E, Second Light Artillery, Sixtieth U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Bogg’s Mill, January 24, 1865—Eleventh U.S. Colored Infantry (Old)

·        Camden, April 24, 1864—Fifty-seventh U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Chippewa Steamer, February 17, 1865—Eighty-third U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Clarksville, January 18, 1865—Seventy-ninth U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Fort Smith, August 24, 1864—Eleventh U.S. Colored Infantry (Old)

·        Fort Smith, December 24, 1864—Eighty-third U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Helena, July 4, 1863—Second Arkansas Colored Infantry (Fifty-fourth U.S. Colored Infantry)

·        Helena, August 2, 1864—Sixty-fourth U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Horse-Head Creek, February 17, 1864—Seventy-ninth U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Indian Bay, April 13, 1864—Fifty-sixth U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Jenkins’ Ferry, April 30, 1864—Seventy-ninth and Eighty-third U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Jenkins’ Ferry, May 4, 1864—Eighty-third U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Joy’s Ford, January 8, 1865—Seventy-ninth U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Little Rock, April 26, 1864—Fifty-seventh U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Little Rock, May 28, 1864—Fifty-seventh U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Lotus Steamer, January 17, 1865—Eighty-third U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Meffleton Lodge, June 29, 1865—Fifty-sixth U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Pine Bluff, July 2, 1864—Sixty-fourth U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Poison Spring, April 18, 1864—Seventy-ninth U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Prairie D’Ane, April 13, 1864—Seventy-ninth and Eighty-third U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Rector’s Farm, December 19, 1864—Eighty-third U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Roseville Creek, March 20, 1864—Seventy-ninth U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Ross’ Landing, February 14, 1864—Fifty-first U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Saline River, May 4, 1865—Eighty-third U.S. Colored Infantry (New)

·        Saline River, May 4, 1865—Fifty-fourth U.S. Colored Infantry

·        Wallace’s Ferry, July 26, 1864—Fifty-sixth U.S. Colored Infantry

·        White River, October 22, 1864—Fifty-third U.S. Colored Infantry

For additional information:
Bearss, Edwin Cole. Steele’s Retreat from Camden and the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry. Little Rock: Arkansas Civil War Centennial Commission, 1967.

Burkhart, George S. Confederate Rage, Yankee Wrath: No Quarter in the Civil War. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2007.

Christ, Mark K. “‘They Will Be Armed’: Lorenzo Thomas Recruits Black Troops in Helena, April 6, 1863.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 72 (Winter 2013): 366–383.

———. “‘To let you know that I am alive’: Civil War Letters of Capt. John R. Graton, First Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 78 (Spring 2019): 57–80.

Christ, Mark K., ed. “All Cut to Pieces and Gone to Hell”: The Civil War, Race Relations, and the Battle of Poison Spring. Little Rock: August House, 2003.

———. Rugged and Sublime: The Civil War in Arkansas. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994.

Glatthaar, Joseph T. Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers. New York: Free Press, 1990.

Hargrove, Hondon B. Black Union Soldiers in the Civil War. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2003.

Lause, Mark A. Race and Radicalism in the Union Army. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.

Nichols, Ronnie A. “Emancipation of Black Union Soldiers in Little Rock, 1863–1865.” Pulaski County Historical Review 61 (Fall 2013): 76–85.

Robertson, Brian K. “‘Will They Fight? Ask the Enemy’: United States Colored Troops at Big Creek, Arkansas, July 26, 1864.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 66 (Autumn 2007): 320–332.

Trudeau, Noah Andre. Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War 1862–1865. Boston: Back Bay Books, 1999.

Urwin, Gregory J. W. Black Flag over Dixie: Racial Atrocities and Reprisals in the Civil War. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2005.

Walls, David. “Marching Song of the First Arkansas Colored Regiment: A Contested Attribution.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 66 (Winter 2007): 401–421.

Steven L. Warren
Overland Park, Kansas

Black Union Troops – Encyclopedia of Arkansas

My great-grandparents, Eugene Owen, Sr. and Armentha Owen, moved from Shelby, Tennessee to Hope, Arkansas in 1916, the same year that my grandfather, Eugene Owen, Jr. was born. In 1924, my great-aunt Nannie Marjorie Owen was born.

View more on https://www.pinterest.com/annkimbrough5/wead-write-away-black-genealogy/

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It’s in the cards: Three generations of family ties together genealogy gaps

“Those are the breakthrough moments in the collection of Black genealogy. Seek out those special times when generations blend. Take a few notes or record some of the conversations.”

By Dr. Ann Wead Kimbrough

Clockwise: My mother, Angeline Cecil Owen Wead (left); her great-grandson, Kingston Apollo Kimbrough; his sister, Kaidence Aurora Kimbrough; and my son, John Charles Kimbrough

One of the best ways to glean information from family members across the generations is to enjoy a meal together or play games, especially during the holidays.

In December 2019 in Tallahassee, FL, my mother, Angie Wead, made her annual trek from Atlanta to enjoy the holidays with my grandchildren, son and wife, close friends and me. During that Christmas season, my youngest son, John, also visited us. It was a full house.

John is blind and partially deaf. The cards, including UNO cards (his favorite game) include Braille. Most of the games that we purchase include the Braille language.

During such times, my grandchildren learn from their great-grandmother about her childhood and she listens to accounts of their lives. There are often a lot of “I didn’t know” moments.

Those are the breakthrough moments in the collection of Black genealogy. Seek out those special times when generations blend. Take a few notes or record some of the conversations.

For instance, I did not know that my mother grew up with an aunt who became blind. When my son, John, lost his sight at age 8, it was my mother who recalled independent tasks that Aunt Ada would perform including cooking , sewing and playing the piano. Her husband, my great-uncle Cecil was also very supportive.

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How a 1929 Photo is Music to a Genealogist’s “Ear”

By Dr. Ann Wead Kimbrough


This picture strikes a perfect pitch for genealogists seeking accurate records about ancestors.

It’s my maternal side’s great-granduncle Ernest Wilks (name spelled incorrectly above) who is posing with his saxophone in this 1929 picture of the Pike’s Roamers Band. I happened upon this picture in the 7-volume “Blacks in the Ozarks.”

Here’s how Uncle Ernest’s photo broke through a long-term brick wall regarding his life outside of an outstanding military career:

  1. The photo provides a date — sometime in 1929 — as indicated by the writing on the bottom right, near the drum skin. It also appears that the photography studio is listed nearby.
  2. The name of the band is written on the picture along with the location of the photo — Springfield, Missouri. That is where Great-uncle Ernest was born in March 1909.
  3. The recorder of the photograph is also a first cousin, twice removed, Alberta Renfro Duncan. She has an interesting notation that indicates the band in the picture is an outgrowth of another band by another name.
  4. I started researching Uncle Ernest’s musical talents and learned that he is among the jazz trombonists chronicled in historical documents. In fact, one of my Florida water aerobics’ classmates recognized the name and he told me a lot about the bands that Uncle Ernest played in and his great musical abilities.

Uncle Ernest in Hawaii in an unknown year

I started researching my great-grandmother, Edna Wilks Robinson’s brothers after her death in 1989. I relied on what I recalled about each uncle and also consulted my mother, Angie Owen Wead. However, Mom only knew that Uncle Ernest was quite content with living in Hawaii. She knew that he retired there after a great military. That was it.

Sometimes when relatives end their knowledge of an ancestor, it may appear to be a brick wall. Yet, with Uncle Ernest’s military record and musical interests, the opportunities increased for me to learn more about him. My first Cousin Mark Owen, also my partner in our genealogical services business, located great photos of Uncle Ernest from the files of other ancestors.

That’s what made it even more rewarding to locate Uncle Ernest in his hometown playing in a band. I also found him in Honolulu playing in a band. From all indications, this permanent bachelor lived his best life.


https://www.newspapers.com/clippings/download/?id=67846304


Dr. Ann Lineve Wead Kimbrough is a certified genealogist interested in reconstructing her family’s histories. Beginning in February 2021, she will begin offering workshops and other Black Genealogy Services along with her partner and cousin, Mark Owen.

FREE FRIDAY!Genealogists Volunteer to Research Any African-American Family Tree for Free

My Wilks (Wilkes) great-uncles, Springfield, Missouri, abt. 1930

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/genealogists-volunteer-research-african-american-133400056.html

What about reparations for African American women?

It happens in other cultures and countries. Austria, France, South Africa and France are among the countries that provide financial and mental health reparations to victims of past atrocities.

Check out what Gwen McKinney has to say about this hot topic:

Proud to share our latest podcast, Reparations: Beyond Acres and the Mule.  Along with the policy implications, reparations comes with the human saga.  We feature scholar/historian/civil rights champion Mary Frances Berry who shares the story of Callie House, a formerly enslaved washer woman who struck the first blow for repatriation and repair as the little-known mother of the reparations movement. We also give voice to a multigenerational chorus of sister warriors including Rosemarie Mealy, Nkechi Taifa, Robin Rue and Dreisen Heath.  True to our mission, the podcast advances narratives that unerase the truths of Black women, often maligned and marginalized in both the historical and contemporary record.  Please take a listen HERE from our website or visit whatever streaming service you prefer for Unerased Kitchen Table Talks.

We’d be thrilled if you’re so moved to help us amplify this episode.  I suggest the following tweets:

1. How can you measure the damage from 4 centuries of bondage and soul pillage? In the latest @UnerasedBWS podcast episode, we explore the human toll of reparations. Tune in, subscribe, share!

2. Will we see reparations come to fruition? Meet advocates from the National African American Reparations Commission leading the way to institute federal reparations laws in the latest @UnerasedBWS podcast episode. Tune in, subscribe, share! https://unerasedbws.com/reparations-beyond-the-acres-and-the-mule/

With praise and appreciation!

gmck

 www.UnerasedBWS.com

Gwen McKinney | Creator & Campaign Director
Stoking passions. Telling stories. Making change.p:(202) 841-3522a:McKinney & Associates1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036w:www.mckpr.com  e: gwen@mckpr.com