Grapes of Wrath: Baltimore 2015, Detroit 1967

Nonviolence as Compliance ~ The Atlantic

The older I get the fewer words I have. I find myself asking, “what hasn’t already been said?” when it comes to the discussion of American racism, bias, oppression and historical injustice. I find myself believing less in mans ability to evolve from his transgressions. I find my anger rising while my faith and hope diminishes.

I understand better human acts I never expected to understand. I seek solace only the Divine can give. I miss more and more the aged wisdom of an Elder’s presence in my life.

Rev Albert Cleage - The Grapes of WrathYesterday I sought and found comfort in the words of Rev. Albert CLEAGE, father of fellow genealogy blogger Kristin CLEAGE (Finding Eliza). Words spoken when I had just turned 1 year’s old that unbelievably ring true today as I approach 49 years this July 7.

I shared these thoughts on my Facebook page last night:

TV off. Thankful to have the consciousness of Rev. Albert CLEAGE streaming into the soul of my 15 yr old Justis tonight. You have to REALLY listen to peep this sermon was delivered in 1967 not 2015. Time hasn’t stood still but the struggle for EQUALITY has. Understanding the nature of RIOTS is not the issue. Work to understand the criminal nature & legacy of oppression. Across decades. Fighting, standing, working, protesting, praying & advocating for change that never comes. Watching life after life loss without just cause & sans protection by law. When you can understand the HIGH toll of living with oppression… you can see how hope gets lost… how anger […]

SELMA 50: March 5, 2015

SELMA50 - 2015 REDUX

Why Did They March? #SELMA

Powerful. Historic. Breathtaking.

Are Our Soldiers Wearing GAR Medals? #BuffaloSoldier

The mystery continues! Compare the medal worn by one of our Mystery Soldiers and the featured Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) medal. Are they one in the same? And if yes, what does this tell us about their military service?

9th G Troop - Taos News

GAR Medal - Taos News

Now consider the medal (below) worn by this distinguished Buffalo Solider from Company A, 25th United States Infantry Regiment. Are we looking at the same medal and if so, what does that tell us?

Officer of Company A, 25th United States Infantry Regiment

Questions of the day:

  • Did our Soldiers serve in the Civil or Indian War? Could they have served in both?
  • Are the medals worn in fact GAR medals awarded for Marksmanship?
  • Would soldiers in the Civil and Indian Wars have received the same type of medal?
  • When and where was the picture taken? Could it have been Fort Bayard New Mexico? Checkout the Fort Bayard “porch” featured in this 1886 image. Is this the backdrop of our group photo? Buffalo Soldiers were stationed there and the 9th Cavalry unit was posted there from 1875-1899.

MANY thanks to my geneaholics (True and Bernita) and history/military buffs tossing their research eye into our search for answers. Kudos to Rick Romancito, TEMPO readers via Taos News and our new friends at the

G Troop Continues To Speak…


Gloria Longval is a gifted Cuban artist and owner of the 9th Regiment, Company G image. She tells me it was purchased in 1965, at an estate sale in Los Angeles.

Gloria paid .40 cents each for 4 picture frames, and it wasn’t until 3 days later she discovered the 9th Cavalry image hidden securely between two mats, and on the underside the horse and carriage image featured above.

She tells me she’s never shared the images with anyone outside of her immediate family, only taking them to be appraised in 1994 and last week to Taos News, in the hope it would prompt a Black History Month feature.

Having lost her Husband in 1965, Gloria shared how the image of the soldiers helped to ease her grief. She’d often examine their faces, wondering about the lives of the 10 men.

So what have we learned and/or confirmed?

  • The soldiers are in fact the 9th Regiment, Company G; also referred to as “G Troop”. The emblem on their hats confirm this — “9” at the top of the crossed sabers and “G” below, medals and uniform style.
  • They are Buffalo Soldiers who we believe served in Texas, Kansas and New Mexico. It’s possible they were recruited in New Orleans in 1866.
  • The medals they’re wearing are not Medals of Honor. We’re working to confirm what the medals represent, at least one medal appears to be for “marksmanship”.
  • The image is believed to be a “reunion” shot, taken sometime after their service. The location to be determined.
  • I’ve reached out to friends at the

Military Mystery: U.S. Cavalry 9th Regiment Company G?


As “luck” would have it friends, I happened to find myself sitting beside a colleague, Rick Romancito (TEMPO Editor, Taos News) as he interviewed the owner of the above historic image.

“Gloria” purchased the image 40+ years ago from an estate sale in Los Angeles, CA. In 1994 she had the image appraised, details of which are included below.


I’ve enlisted the aid of my own personal military advisers, True Lewis (Army) of My True Roots and Bernita Allen (Air Force) of Voices Inside My Head to help track down details regarding these distinguished Servicemen. Now I enlist the help of our genealogy community!:)

We’d love to confirm service details and if possible, identify and call their respective names! Are they in fact U.S. Cavalry 9th Regiment Company G Servicemen?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to know the origins of the medals they’re wearing so proudly and/or to connect this rare image to living descendants who would love to see their Ancestors in this light?

ALL feedback is welcome, so PLEASE do leave comments, ideas and thoughts.

There’s a good chance you’ll be seeing our Servicemen as an ongoing article in our local TEMPO section of the Taos News as we work through this mystery together.

There are less than 100 African Americans in the town of Taos. And to my knowledge I’m the only genealogist — let alone a researcher with African American military interest and a visible online presence. What are the odds that the owner […]

KWANZAA 2014 ~ Principle 7: IMANI = Faith

ANCESTORS River RiseIMANI (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

2014 has been a year where we’ve felt our faith in humanity stretched to its limits. The year when when I gave voice to my greatest fear, mankind is hopeless and beyond repair.

In my darkest and angriest times, I take refuge in Spirit. I hold fast to faith that flows beyond any ignorant deed or act of aggression; faith that rises above my understanding and despair.

It’s my faith in the larger plan, the bigger, DIVINE picture that I am anchored to. It’s my awareness of what my Ancestors endured that assures me we CAN and WILL make it.

We are not alone. This is all part of the journey. This day must manifest so better ones can follow.

Just like the seeds of America’s past have yielded fruit, so has (and will) the harvest planted by our Ancestors, family and community. And in that harvest, I plant my faith.

Habari gani? IMANI!



KWANZAA 2014 ~ Principle 6: KUUMBA = Creativity

yellow-harvest-sun-DBF REDUXKUUMBA (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Embrace life. Make fruitful your gifts. Plant good seeds. Reap an abundant harvest.

Take nothing, NOTHING for granted.

Habari gani? KUUMBA!


Image: Yellow Harvest Sun by Artist Danielle Boodoo Fortune

By |December 31st, 2014|Announcements, Events|0 Comments

KWANZAA 2014 ~ Principle 5: NIA = Purpose

NIA (Purpose) Day 5 KwanzaaNIA (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Wow. Another year has come and gone, and it was a blessed one!:)

No it wasn’t without its struggles, life challenges and character building opportunities but it was blessed nonetheless.

We’re here. Healthy and with presence of mind, we’ve been given yet another opportunity to live to NIA (purpose).

I rebelled for many years against the notion of being born to help others. Such weight always seemed unfair to me, as if my 9 Life Path could be altered by my own selfish desires!

Aging is beautiful when we accept ourselves for who we are, invest on changing what can be improved and offer grace/forgiveness to our own humanity.

I’m thankful that my questions related to my purpose are no longer WHY but HOW?

2015 upon us Family. What will we do with this gift?

Habari gani? NIA!



KWANZAA 2014 ~ Principle 4: UJAMAA = Cooperative Economics

The Road To TaosUJAMAA (Cooperative Economics): To build our own businesses, control the economics of our own community and share in all its work and wealth.

In 2013 I posted this picture to offer friends and family a view of the road ahead for me. It’s the road leading to Taos, N.M.

1 year later I’ve made the journey. I take in that glorious blue sky and those mountains bringing me such peace, daily.

Today is a reminder for me my work is not finished. It’s not just enough to make it here. I must fulfill ALL the reasons I came for.

I’m surrounded by inspiring examples of UJAMAA by way of my circle of friends. Tonie V. who recently opened her Taos Libelulas Etsy store showcasing her beautiful beaded jewelry. Michelle L. the dynamo behind our favorite soap EVER – Nature’s Emporium Cherokee Soap. Adrian T. who despite my lectures begging him to slow down, continues on the grind selling from his collection of amazing global artifacts at SAIOTE. Rocking the showroom of my interior design dreams Ivelisse B. of Antiquarius Imports. And my earliest Taos inspiration, Lenny F. of Living Light Gallery. For his photography there are no words! Lenny’s “Healing Hands” was my 1st […]

KWANZAA 2014 ~ Principle 3: UJIMA = Collective Work & Responsibility

UJIMA (Collective Work & Responsibility) Day 3 KwanzaaUJIMA (Collective Work & Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.

Though we could live happily without the tragic circumstances that spawned it, the #BlackLivesMatter movement spanning the globe is a powerful and necessary display of Ujima.

Your problems are our problems.

In both big and small ways, we must — yes MUST — seek out ways to support each other through life’s challenges and in the case of #BlackLivesMatter, to fight against injustice.

With police shootings of Black Americans reaching epidemic proportions, and justice system rulings mimicking it’s Jim Crow predecessor, if ever there was a time to bond together as a community undivided, it is NOW.

The lives and future of our children depend on it.

Capitol Hill Hands Up


UJIMA = Collective Work & Responsibility

By |December 28th, 2014|Announcements, Events|0 Comments