Thursday, December 26, 2013

Habari Gani

Today is the first day of Kwanzaa!! I am so happy to have made it through Christmas holiday. Although i do not celebrate Kwanzaa it is very close to my heart and family. By this time next year i plan on sharing this holiday with my husband and our African family.

In celebrating the principle UMOJA i learned alot from my trip to Ghana. The families there work very hard to keep their familues together. Strong, spiritual, humble and loving. It was very peaceful and i never felt out of place with anyone. 

The marketplace was wonderful, like a big flea market.Everyone trying to sell their goods, from clothing, jewelry, foods,   and about everything you could think of. Lots of smiles and collective hospitality.

In reference to the beloved Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." It has been a mighty long road and our people are strong, intelligient, and will continue to move forward as a proud nation.

Monday, December 23, 2013


This past year is almost over and it has been like a rollercoaster.  Many ups and downs throughout. A time for healing, renewed joy, peace and blessings heading into the new year.

When one door closes there are others that will open. It has been a long 30+ years and that door has been opened to our family. My granny's baby boy came home.

Raised by a good family friend who could not have children. Right in our backyard many times and we never knew. I found my uncle Quinn last year and with lots of love and encouragement, he arrived like the Postman. Through rain, snow, hills, and lotsa traffic. What a wonderful birthday gift for me and Christmas to the rest of the family.

It is such an overwhelming experience to explain the tears of joy down my grandma's face when she saw her BABY BOY. Priceless how she held his face and looked in his eyes and said " my baby". 

To this day their is a different feel in the family house. The smell of home cooked meals every day, children laughing, and sharing stories from way back yonder....

We are blessed and very thankful. My grandma is always smiling, now she has been snapping her fingers and wiggling her hips. Not too much, she is about 90 years favored. Blaring her Sir Charles & James Brown. And of course a lil Blind Boys of Alabama, her hometown, along with some Smokie Norful and Canton Spirituals. Her Pastor n choir boy, my uncle sanging nearby.

Friday, December 13, 2013


I don't think i even realize how realistic the saying your ancestors will guide you is. I find myself deep in thought alot to the early morning . Trying to gather my thoughts and connect my ancestors.

Early last week i had a really mind boggling dream. But by weeks end i think it was evident what was going on. With that being said, let me recreate the road i traveled.

It was like a Sunday drive, traveling down a red dirt road and peering out the window. It was refreshing looking at the unfamiliar buildings with large pillars and picturesque  windows.

In reaching our destination, a subway/ train station we where greeted by an older gentleman who provided us with few tickets. One with some small numbers on bottom, and one that clearly stated African Freedom.

Looking out there where staircases and people dressed in their Sunday best. Some in african wear and others casual. All of a sudden people starting running from stairwells screaming out what seemed to be Run. Then came forth a young man chained n shackled to others with his head down. Led by an older man who seemed to be pulling him along with others.

Then BOOM, a drum roll and people started scattering, others where being grabbed up and i heard sumone say " FREE" as he touched my shoulder. Drums still playing, their was an indistinct chanting and dancing.

The last thing i remember is crowd had dispersed and there was a small circle of us. Holding hands, seated, low drum sound. Appeared to be chanting or praying. Then i woke up..

Photo courtesy of :Hampton {20th Anniversary Umoja Fest} {Oddisee}

Family Tree{Kadir Nelson}

Saturday, November 23, 2013

African American Blogosphere

From the coasts of Africa, down in the Bayou, to the city that never sleeps, and everywhere else in between.

Over the past few months the AASGAR facebook group, with the guidance of Luckie Daniels and others, there has emerged a collection of ancestral stories.

Some that will melt your heart, awaken your spirits and enlighten your mind. Others that will challenge your beliefs, tickle your tummy, or put a smile on your face.

A glimpse into the past reflecting on what it was like to walk in their shoes. I hope that you take time to bless the Blogosphere:

Our Georgia Roots
Echoes of My Nola Past
Back Porch Reminiscing
Claiming Kin
Where Art Thou?
My Elusive Kin
A Journey To The Past
Finding Eliza
Interlocked & Interwoven
Mississippi Ancestors
Cecelia's Dig
Walking in Irene's Shoes
The Middlebrooks of Meriweather County
A Home In Missouri
The Book of Bannarn
Mysteries of My Ancestors
My True Roots
Arterberry-King-Pinkney-Richardson Genealogy
Moon-Jackson Army
Pieces of Me
J-Mac's Journey
Daniels is My Name
Panola County Roots
Their Child
Pressing My Way
Our Family As A Whole
Ruby's Granddaughter
Ancestral Callings
Honoring My Great Uncle
How Did I Get Here?
Tracey's Trees
Honoring Our History
Caddo Trees
Voices Inside My Head
Between the Gate Posts
Conversations With My Ancestors
Spence-Lowry Family History
Taneya's Genealogy Blog
All Roads Lead To California
The Southern Root
Tracing Their Footsteps
Ike Ivery Family
Terrence Garnett's Family Research
They Came from Virginia
Connected by Blood

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Peola- Imitation of Life

I really never knew that society had such an issue with color behind closed doors. In my household everyone looked the same and outside our doors we where all the same. As i grew older i realized that even though God created everyone equal, everyone wasn't raised the same. People are the way they are due to the circumstances around them and examples of what is right and wrong.

I can recall when i was about 8 years old give or take a few years was when i started to view people differently. I had a very close friend who i played with, had sleepovers with, and spent most of my time with. One day we where playing and her neighbor, another friend, told us her parents said she could no longer play with us. Later the reason being was because of me, what had i done i thought. It was explained going forward that it was just because i looked different. That memory stays in my head.

It brings me back to first time i saw the movie Imitation of Life with my mother. How everything seemed black and white. My heart was overwhelmed at listening to Mahalia Jackson sing. And how Peola thought that her world would be better if she could live like a white woman.

I can relate in some ways by looking at history and how it was perceived that you where better if you could pass. But at same time Miss Annie had to carry on with a broken heart. A love of a child so strong that she finally broke and it was too late for her daughter to mend her wrong.

I wonder if any of my ancestors came upon this and how they dealt with it. I know from my grandparents that there where some family members who where mixed/ mulatto. At this day and age i still think its like a generational curse.

The videos with lighter colored girls, with the longer hair, use of perms and relaxers, bleaching of the skin etc etc. Some do, some don't. But i can always recall some young African American girl talking about not liking those very features that make them who they are. I always tell my girls no matter what you are BEAUTIFUL! !!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sweet Dreams ....:-(

Sleep tight don't let the bed bugs bite, or the Sandman will bring you good dreams.....

But have you ever heard of the Silver Finger Lady? She, or it was referred to when having to go to bed @ night. If you did not go to bed like a good girl or boy the Silver Finger Lady would come for you.

Now i really don't know how this story came about but i know it was passed down throughout our family. My father said my grandma also told him and  my uncle the same. Perhaps an Urban Legend , a monster of some sort.

Of course story changed in time. Supposedly she would ride your back, waking you from your sleep. You could not move or scream. Or maybe that was the nightmare she would bring if you stayed up too late!!!

Needless to say i always went to bed on time with my nightlight. Crazy story but worked for most of us. No one ever said they actually met that fate....:-)

School Daze

For the past few weeks i have been pondering many thoughts about what to write. Their have been so many thoughts racing in my head but one that really stood out.  What was life like where my ancestors where raised? What was going on in Lowndes, Birmingham, or surrounding areas in certain time?

This is what i was taught during school in regards to history...
Harriet Tubman-Slavery and Underground Railroad.
Eli Whitney-invented cottin gin.
Rosa Parks- refused to give up seat for white person.
Frederick Douglass-abolitionist.
WEB DuBois-Souls of Black Folk
Phyllis Wheatley-poet
Martin Luther King-Already Know :-)
Emancipation Proclamation-Freed confederate slaves.
13th Amendment-abolished slavery.
14th Amendment-Defined who where "so called" citizens.
15th Amendment- Gave blacks right to vote.

This is what i learned by reading, family or watching media...

Dred Scott case-Slaves are not citizens.
Scotsboro Boys-9 black boys charged for raping 2 white women.
Emmett Till-killed for allegedly whistling @ white girl.
Tuskegee Syphillis Experiment-used black men to determine how long it would take for disease to kill a person.
Amistad-slave ship where slaves revolted
Clothilde-last known slave ship
16th Street Church bombing-death of Four little black girls in Alabama. Including two boys after community upset. Johnny Robinson n Virgil Ware while riding their bicycles
Freedom Riders-Civil rights activists traveled throughout the South to try and put end to segregation in interstate traveling.

Bloody Sunday/Lowndes:
March in 1965 from Selma to Montgomery in support of voter registration and killing of Jimmy Jackson. Occurence on Edmund Pettus Bridge where they where met by violent beating with batons, guns, spray, and tear gas.

This highly televised event led the to two more marches and President Johnson to the Voting Act of 1965........

I can truly say that im very appreciative of what my ancestors fought for beyond what i thought i knew......Equal Housing rights and the right to vote. End of segregation in airports, restaurants, courthouses, sports activities,recreational areas, the workplace. Wheew, long list....need i add more?


We have come a very long way and i never thought i would see the day that a black man became President!!! God has been so good and i can accept the good with the bad in moving forward. There is strength in numbers, AAGSAR facebook bloggers i look forward to hearing your stories.  Nothing is impossible!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Today has been a long day for me. I really feel exhausted in my efforts over the past week. I would like to believe that i should have at least come up with something in regards to my ancestors. What a blah day, it is raining and i have a slight headache. However, i have been writing different genealogical societies in areas of my research. Posting and searching message boards and nothing yet that makes me wanna jump up and down. I don't know just feeling really out of touch.
I think i am going to start on another ancestor or perhaps my paternal line.

Or perhaps provide some information on WD Mc Curdy. A few of my relatives worked under the Mc Curdy family and i do know their is a Mc Curdy horse Plantation in Lowndes that my grandma mentioned.  Alot of area farmers or slave owners took there horses there to be breed because of the care and status of the Mc Curdy brothers own establishment.

In short WD Mc Curdy also had a part in the Pratt Mines of Alabama where slaves where leased amongst owners in coal mines to produce money in deplorable conditions. Chained, malnurished, tortured, and whipped. A practice known as convict leasing. A sytem in which a slave or free person was used in forced labor to pay off their debt. Taken from jail or prison and delivered to a farm, coal mine, or lumber yard.. Most  of the time there was no real criminal act committed. Can't begin to imagine worrying about walking down street and being thrown into custody for something made up. Our ancestors where very strong and deserve there stories to be told, GOOD, BAD,and UGLY!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

They call me Chaarlie, Charlie Reese

We began to talk and her eyes glistened as she spoke of her grandparents Mamie Dudley and Charlie Reese. The words of my granny Ruby Reese.
 Oh my goodness she looked like an Indian with her long hair and red skin. She would braid her her up or pin it in curls. Always dressed so nice and had gold in her mouth. Never understood how she got her hair to stay so in place, and my momma Lucile looked indian too.
My grandaddy Charlie used to have best watermelons, we would eat half and then tip melon over till he found out. He was clean too, light skinned fella.
On Saturdays we rode into town with him. On Sundays we attended church at Hopewell Baptist, Revrend Witt did services. During the week Grandma Mamie and momma kept house for Sam Pharr, he worked at courthouse in Lowndesboro. Wonder if he still here, had dream he could tell me where momma is.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Back In The Day

Today i was sitting down chatting about my grandma to another elder from Alabama/ Florida area, and we began discussing how people in North are so very different from those raised in South. I can recall as a child when my grandma cooked she would feed the neighborhood. Not to say we had it like that but if you where hungry Mrs. Ruth, my granny would feed you, a good home cooked meal.
When i went to Georgia as a teenager and stayed with my grandpa we were up with the birds. Hence, early bird catches the worm. Nowadays kids wanna stay in bed sleeping all day.
The people where very mannerable, using  maa'm or sir. People in neighborhood where very close and knew each other by first names. And when you walked down street people spoke to each other without turning head or saying nothing at all.
So we chatted and somehow i got to asking if he saw 42, the Jackie Robinson movie. He chuckled and said you know how old i am? Oh my goodness he was very smart, tough guy. Didn't take no junk...bout 6 ft, dark good looking black man. His wife....oh was she a pretty where little at time he played ball. She is around 85-90 years old with prettiest silver hair. Think they had two boys n maybe a girl later...Can't quite remember. Anyways he began to say, he had diabetes and it got to his eyesight, and started affecting other parts of his body. You know back then we didn't know how handle those things. Hmmm, so sad was a good man.
Back to matter at hand he says, make sure you record and right down everything. Whatever your grandma tells you keep track of. Sometimes when you get older you forget. And alot times back then people didn't really know who they Daddy was. I laughed and said, well she does and its confirmed. Just cant find anything on her mothers death yet.....thats still a mystery.....

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Things that make you go hmm

It can be very easy to get overwhelmed with research and figuring out which way to go. I have been mostly researching my maternal line and like any one i have a few bumps in road that need paved.
My first that's dear and closest to my obituary, death record, or picture for my great grandma Lucile Reese Robinson. She was born in 1907 to Charlie Reese and Mamie Dudley in Lowndes county Alabama.  The last known relevance i have on her is in household with husband Harry Robinson in 1940, Birmingham.
My Second Bump in Road

Charlie Reese
Over the past few weeks i have been trying to prove that Abe Reese/Reece is in fact the father of Charlie. According to the Alabama Death & Burial index on Ancestry his parents are Abe Reese and Annie Miller aka Amy Miller. He was born about 1886 and died 1937 in Clanton, Alabama.
If it is so that Abe Reece is his father they migrated from North Carolina. Abe Reese would be son of Wiley Reese and Dinah. He was born about 1870 and died 1935.
My Third Bump in Road
Over past couple weeks i began correspondence with another researcher on Reese surname. In fact we had same ancestors or so i thought. Same given names, Wiley Reese and Dinah who where spouses. Abe Reese and Annie/ Amy Miller. Also Abe's first wife Aliff Waters\Warters.
I asked if had any pictures, history to prove or disprove if  had owners. Or if  knew parents of Wiley or Dinah. This person replied that must be different family because they are Caucasian, with maybe some Cherokee blood. They where never owned.
How to go about finding solutions....why did they migrate to Alabama and when exactly?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pieces of A Dream

I am new to this but its been a couple years and i have discovered alot. I have learned through my kids to be patient and not always look at big picture. The little details are the ones that amount to big discoveries.
With that being said i listen alot to elders in my family. I have a wonderful Uncle that until last year was a big mystery. My grandma has not seen or heard from in over 40 plus years. She allowed a friend who couldn't have kids at time to raise him. Up until some time last year i found him. Through lots of research on Ancestry, Facebook , and too many others sources and methods to mention.
Needless to say i received a message that turned into a phone call. My granny's smile priceless when she heard the voice of her son forever in her heart.