REFLECTIONS: The HALEY Farm & My Road Home… Still Following The Signs!

Alex Haley Farm - Clinton, TNLooking forward to rising early tomorrow to spend the day watching Alex Haley’s ROOTS with the kids. I haven’t seen ROOTS in many years, and this will be the kids first time! Many of the things I appreciate most about life today, I discovered on the HALEY Farm. 

Hoping we’ll have time to visit once again on our trip to the Tennessee State Museum in February to view the Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation Exhibit, and to visit with Aunts Hannah and Lena in Cincinnati too.

Yes, it’s time to journey home!:)


Original Post 18 July 2011: Sentimental Sunday: The Road Home… Still Following The Signs!

It’s been almost 6 years since I traveled I-75 North heading to Cincinnati, Ohio. Although my Georgia and Alabama family roots reach deep, I was raised in Cincinnati, so the trip home is always warm and familiar.

I hadn’t planned this journey but I see now that doesn’t make it any less predestined. I was supposed to make this trip… at this time.

For the first time, I was blessed to experience the 157 acre Alex Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee all by myself — well sorta — […]

Still Flying with Ravens & Ready to Take Flight!:)

Carey Moore ~ Flying With RavensShortly after returning from my first trip in March 2011 to Taos, New Mexico, I posted this painting by the late Carey Moore, Flying with Ravens. It was a Sunday, and I was on the way to my weekly visit with Mom.  A post reflecting the heaviness I carried. I was “going through” and turning to all things beautiful (and quiet) for comfort.

I fell in love with Taos the moment it was described by a friend encouraging me to visit The Enchanted Lands, where she said I’d fit right in.

Well I did visit. I did fit right in. And in May 2014 I’ll travel cross-country with kids in-tow to plant new, permanent, Southwestern roots in Taos, NM!:)

Kinda surreal how much my life has changed since that Sentimental Sunday post.

This time, Mama will journey with us in spirit. I’m not seeking refuge in the mountains anymore, just my own adventures and dreams to fulfill.

Planning on immersing myself in my art, and devoting lots of time loving on my kids — and me!:)

In seasons to come I’ll raft the Rio Grande, join the pilgrimage to Chimayo and celebrate fall harvest with the Red Willow people of Taos Pueblo.

I still believe my old-school coffee house will manifest where I’ll comfort folks with Blue […]

TALIAFERRO FLASHBACK: A Call To Action For African American Researchers ~ 2 March 2010

Original post: 2 March 2010 Sandra TALIAFERRO of I Never Knew My Father (archived)

My friend Luckie Daniels of Our Georgia Roots, has written another thought provoking Monday Madness post, this time to the African American Genealogy Community – Madness Monday: The Digital Divide Revisited ~ Tough Love For The African-American Genealogy Community.  After commenting on Luckie’s post, I realized I had actually written my next post.  Yes, I could have let that suffice, but I felt I needed to show my support for and belief in Luckie’s position here on my blog.  So often, we sit back in the amen corner bowing our heads up and down in agreement, but never speak-up and take a stance. I wanted to echo Luckie’s sentiments. My comment to her did that, and posting it here reiterates it. There needs to be some serious changes in the African American genealogy community; those changes need to occur sooner, rather than later before we are standing in the shadows as the online genea-community moves forward.

Thank you Luckie for a very timely and long overdue post.  How sad it was to hear people who have been researching their family history for years stand up in a meeting and ask for help, but they are not on the internet, don’t like, won’t do it. There are so any resources out there, and many connections to make, but you won’t find them in your living room or in the archives.  Genealogy is changing, and the African American community of researchers must change with it. And, it’s not only in genealogy. As another comment so appropriately pointed out, we are missing a wealth […]

5th Edition Carnival of African American Genealogy (CoAAG) ~ REBIRTH: It’s Time For Revival!

Photograph of baptismal service, Wilkes County, Georgia, 1913

re·birth rēˈbərTH,ˈrēˌbərTH/ noun noun: rebirth; noun: re-birth
1. the process of being reincarnated or born again. “the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth”


Those who know me outside my Ancestor work, can attest to the fact I never intended to return online to research my family’s genealogy. There were no plans to resurrect blogs or as beautiful an experience it was/is, the Carnival of African American Genealogy (CoAAG). Never could anyone have convinced me I’d be managing a genealogy forum via Facebook — my least favorite social platform!

Over the years I’ve learned to follow the Ancestors whispers and nudges without question. And those spirit prompts have brought me here. Some days teacher — equal days student! I’ve returned to challenge, and be challenged; to help and be helped. To be healed because life’s journey is ahead of me.

Though I didn’t really want it, I’m thankful the Ancestors laid this 5th Edition of CoAAG in my hands. It’s soothed me on days when my feathers were ruffled and my heart cracked a bit wider from the absence of Mama. It’s fortified me, summoning memories and Gospel melodies I didn’t realize I still had in me.

This new life experience, has without question been an Awakening and I can think of no better way to bless it, than by […]

5th Edition Carnival of African American Genealogy ~ REBIRTH: Thomas Andrew DORSEY {1899-1993}

Thomas A. DORSEY

What would a Revival be without our cousin, “Georgia Tom” DORSEY? It makes sense as I began to meditate on REBIRTH: It’s Time For Revival, the Ancestors would send the soothing words of Precious Lord, Take My Hand, to my lips.

The JACKSON clan has long-held Precious Lord, composed by Thomas A. DORSEY close to the heart. It, along with I’ll Fly Away and Jesus Loves Me are the songs of my childhood that will always ring most clear!

As I began to sing, Spirit summoned memories of my Great Grandmother Annie CARTER JACKSON, pins clinched between her teeth, hanging fresh clothes on the line; softly comforting herself with familiar words. She was always so quiet working the line, makes me wonder now who and/or what life event was Grandma cloaking in prayer?

And my Uncle Jake, Rev. Ronald M. JACKSON, Sr. sitting high in the pulpit of St. Paul A.M.E Church was there too! I see him now, regal in his flowing purple and black robe, big glasses over eyes closed with his head tilted back; swaying easy as the choir behind carried him and us away.

Thomas DORSEY ~ Take My Hand, Precious LordCousin Tom DORSEY penned Precious Lord in a […]

VETERAN’S DAY 2013: Honoring Tuskeegee Airman LeRoy ELEY (1927-2012) & All Who Serve!

Tuskegee Airman Leroy Edward Eley Sr.I always joke about how my kismet luck is really rooted in my ability to surrender to the Ancestors who I believe called me to tell their stories. I just listen and follow; then somehow they faithfully navigate my feet to the most amazing places, to encounter the most brilliant people, to learn the most unbelievable things!

Meeting LeRoy ELEY in Spring 2010 was every bit an example of the Ancestors moving to not only make our 3rd Edition of CoAAG: They Served With Honor a VERY special event, but to gift myself, son Justis and a lucky elementary school of awestruck 4th graders with a historical time stamp to last a lifetime!

I still see Mr. ELEY with his charming smile… exuding pure pride, confidence and authority as he approached to firmly shake my hand! Beaming and chuckling about my coordinating savvy!:)

Don’t know how I came up with the idea of getting the MUCH in-demand Atlanta Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen out to talk with — no EDUCATE — 150+ 4th graders or how I coordinated the CoAAG event in under 2 weeks!

I just remember the day being magical! With Sandra and Bernard TALIAFERRO joining me, we witnessed the embodiment of African American pride and honor in Mr. LeRoy ELEY. I will never, EVER forget it!

Mr. LeRoy Edward ELEY transitioned on August 30, 2012. Once again flying high, […]

REPLAY: 1st Edition ~ Carnival of African-American Genealogy: Restore My Name – Slave Records & Genealogy Research {3.18.10}

Hammond-Davies Slave Bible RecordsTimestamp this moment Friends because with the arrival of the 1st Edition ~ Carnival of African-American Genealogy: Restore My Name – Slave Records & Genealogy Research, we have made history!

Never before has an open dialogue and mass sharing of historic slave data between the descendants of slaves and slave owners occurred online, and quite honestly, I’d be surprised if exchanges such as this have transpired much offline either!:-)

On February 8, the genea-community began answering my charge to become a Friend of Friends to their fellow African-American researchers, by sharing oft times private slave data encountered through their own personal genealogy research.

Since then, I’ve been alerted daily via emails, blog posts and tweets to online resources that provide invaluable information pertaining to our enslaved Ancestors. Information that otherwise, may never have been discovered.

In addition to the Restore My Name submissions presented below, there have been at least 20-25 individual blog posts citing previously unpublished slave information! Simply AMAZING!:-)

So as the one who first sounded the alarm, let me also be the first to thank the genea-community for proving that we are in fact a true community of supporters to all who choose to join and a shining example that collectively we can rise above history’s most devastating blemish.

We have chosen to heal history, rather than hide from it.

I am proud of you. I am proud of US.

Restore My Name – Slave Records & Genealogy Research

Alane Roundtree presents CoAAG 1st […]

FLASHBACK: CoAAG 4th Edition: FreedomTweet 2010 ~ What Does FREEDOM Mean To You & Me? {06.19.10}

FREEDOMTWEET 2010Wow! This has been some month, huh?! Did we EVER think that #FreedomTweet 2010 would come to mean so much, to so many, OUTSIDE of our genea-family?

Did the Ancestors EVER think that we — their children — would be living as FREE as we do today? I often wonder if my Ancestors dreamed or imagined a better day. God, in my heart, I hope so.

Today marks the 145th Anniversary of Juneteenth — the nationally observed day commemorating the end of Slavery in the United States. On this day, starting in 1865 Galveston, Texas, Emancipated Slaves celebrated their new-found, but still greatly challenged — freedom.

So today, we speak and stand-up for FREEDOM. What it meant for our Ancestors of yesterday, and what it means to us today, their living legacies…


Luckie Daniels, Our Georgia Roots | CoAAG 4th Edition: FreedomTweet 2010 ~ What Does FREEDOM Mean To Me? ~ Freedom means far more to me today, than it did a month ago when I first thought of #FreedomTweet.

Jacky Gamble, Vermont Genealogy | Juneteenth Events ~ Thank you Jacky for sharing with us the Juneteenth event of Portsmouth, NH & supporting FreedomTweet 2010!

Vicky Daviss-Mitchell, Mariah’s Zepher | Texas Tradition Arizona Style: Honoring Juneteenth ~ Thank you Ms. V for showing us how to celebrate Juneteenth, Arizona style!:-)

Angela Walton-Raji, My Ancestor’s Name […]

FLASHBACK: Reflections From The Accidental Buddhist ~ The Road To Freedom… {5.30..2010}

Road To FreedomMany years ago, I coined myself the Accidental Buddhist because at the time, I considered my finding the spiritual path to Buddhism an “accident”, a “fluke”.

Of course once I began to follow the Path, I realized that my spiritual journey was no fluke at all — it was my destiny. Today, I see it as my rock.

Buddhism did for me what all spiritual paths are intended to do — it saved me from myself. Does it make me perfect? No. Does it make life trouble-free? No. However it does make me forever conscious of my impact to those around me and aware of my accountability to mankind in both large and small ways.

I am thankful. The Path is the only source capable of calming the fire of rage I’ve often felt in respect oppression, racism and suffering. The Path is the only comfort allowing me to rise each day as my heart is challenged with watching more and more of Mom transition away due to Alzheimer’s Disease.

After all these years, I am still working on accepting that I am, right now FREE. I am happy. There is much good in this season because Mom is still here, right now and there are lessons for me to learn in the present. I am working on accepting reality (or the illusion that looks like it) with grace, peace and ease.

So you should know, following the June 19th FreedomTweet event, I will be taking an indefinite hiatus from the genea-space to just… well, be.

There are other needs calling my name. I […]

FLASHBACK: They Served With Honor: Tuskegee Airman LeRoy Eley Sr. Offers Lessons For A Lifetime! {5.15.10}

LeRoy EleyOriginal Tuskegee Airman, Mr. LeRoy E. Eley Sr., is nothing short of amazing!

Born May 30, 1927 and the baby of the bunch at almost 83 years young, Mr. Eley is EVERYTHING you would expect a Tuskegee Airman to be — distinguished, proud and fast on his feet!:-) He is disarmingly charming and witty, and easily captivated the attention of some 60+ 4th grade students, teachers, parents and genea-guests.

For every 1 question answered — 10 more hands flew up! I was floored by Mr. Eley’s ability to recount even the most minute historical detail and surprised that right along with the students, I too received an history lesson! I’d never heard of the Red Tail Pilots!

Those blessed to be in the room were provided an insiders view of history, complete with stories and memories that only he and his elite Fraternity of Tuskegee Airmen Brothers can truly recount.

To Justis’ question of which was more challenging — fighting in the war or enduring racism in the military, he responded honestly — BOTH. Mr. Eley shared how when the servicemen traveled abroad to fight, they remained segregated — unable to fight together even in the face of a common enemy!

When asked by a young lady to describe the feeling of flying a plane, Mr. Eley just smiled, responding there was nothing in the world like it!

Indeed, aviation is Mr. Eley’s passion. Since volunteering for the USAAF at the age of 17 (assigned to Class 46-D at […]