Journal

Ancestor Reverence: To Acknowledge

To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves, that the line stretches all the way back, perhaps to God; or to Gods. We remember them because it is an easy thing to forget: that we are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love and die. The grace with which we embrace life, in spite of the pain, the sorrow, is always a measure of what has gone before.

~ Alice WALKER

By |November 22nd, 2014|Journal, Reflections|0 Comments

Spelman University: Where My Family Genealogy & Images Will Call Home

At the turn of the 20th century my Great Grandmother Annie CARTER JACKSON lived on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, GA with my GG Grandmother Marrie, and attended Spelman Seminary with her 2 sisters Fannie and Mattie Wee. As a little girl, I was blessed to hear of their antics at Spelman on many occasions!:)

Grandma JACKSON’s gift for delivering our oral history in the most hysterical fashion, was the catalyst for me. Her memories were where my love of family history took root and her devotion to family, is what anchors my commitment to preserving it.

Annie CARTER JACKSONAs the family historian, I’ve spent 15 years unearthing our Georgia and Alabama heritage. I’ve inherited bibles, historic documents and rare family images from my maternal Grandparents and Mom, and through divine intervention, “acquired” the family bible of my paternal Great Grandmother COBB.

Over the past few years I’ve given MUCH thought to how my personal genealogy archive will be managed in the event of my passing. I’ve been trying to answer one simple but difficult question — what’s the BEST way to ensure my heritage is preserved and our data made accessible to other researchers?

As an advocate for digital preservation I’d considered both Ancestry.com and LDS owned Family Search, but in truth neither entity has earned my trust as a researcher of Slave Ancestry. I’m not convinced the digitization of African American history is a ‘true’ priority of either org and I know from personal […]

Just Do Right. Thank You Maya Angelou!

Maya Angelou - Just Do RightDr. Maya Angelou ~ 1928-2014

This week the world grieved the passing of Dr. Maya Angelou.

There were so many beautiful posts (checkout Michael Twitty), quotes and thoughts shared about Maya, I’d really not planned to post anything. I thought watching and reading the praise as it flowed, knowing what Maya Angelou’s transparency and pen meant to me, was enough.

I took in Maya’s charge to “just do right”, and shared it with my kids. Like everyone, I thought about how her life has gifted me and words anchored in my heart long ago.

Yet I still planned to keep quiet… like the freedom from shame Maya relieved me of so many years ago, was our secret.

But after reading “What Maya Angelou’s Past Can Teach the Feminists of the Future“, I felt I had to affirm writer Lauren Davidson’s assertion, that Maya Angelou’s darkest life moments were as inspiring and enlightening as her brightest and most celebrated accolades.

I was 18 years old when I first learned of and read Maya Angelou, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I had a BEAUTIFUL toddler, my firstborn Jerold (Jay) and was heading to nursing school, having just graduated with Honors.

In spite of the merit I earned by being a “good, young Mother” and […]

Missing Johnnie Mae ~ Thank You Sandra!:)

Johnnie Mae & Robert LongLaughing about the recent cemetery “adventure” of AAGSAR member Sandra WILLIAMS-BUSH (Ancestral Callings: Georgia & Mississippi), I was reminded of one the funniest family stories ever shared with me by my late Cousin, Johnnie Mae STRINGER LONG.

Mae was Elbert STRINGER’s younger sister, the daughter of Missy DORSEY and John STRINGER. Missy and my GG Grandmother, Marrie WINGFIELD CARTER were Sisters. All of the beautiful DORSEY and STRINGER images I have, came from Mae. Her facial features and voice were so much like that of my Great Grandmother Annie CARTER JACKSON (Mae and Elbert’s first cousin they referred to lovingly as “Baby Sister”), I would just stare at her. It was comforting to be in her presence.

I spent many afternoons with Mae scanning pictures, capturing history and laughing about her fear of ghosts and spirits.

My favorite Mae story?

According to Mae, she’d always been the scary type. When she was a teen she and Elbert would visit Grandma Catie’s grave at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.

Mae told me when Grandma Catie died, her son John “Bud” WINGFIELD and cousin Harry HECTOR carried a huge boulder via wagon from Washington-Wilkes to place on Catie’s Grave.

Well when they arrived for one visit the boulder had disappeared – sunken COMPLETELY in the ground! On top of Grandma Catie’s grave! And when they attempted to investigate further, Elbert and Mae began to sink into soft earth!

Mae said the calmer Elbert got, the more hysterical she became! Mae said […]

#DangerousBlackKids & Why I ♥ Black Twitter!:)

The Future Leaders Crew - #DangerousBlackKids

The “Future Leaders Crew” reppin’ the South side! Those darn gang members! #DangerousBlackKids

When the #DangerousBlackKids Viral Revolution sparked by our Dream Defenders fades from our socially-conscious side-eye, I want to remember we were there to engage and partake of its relevance and ABSOLUTE beauty!

Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Friends took to Twitter in mass on February 16-17 following the Jordan Davis/Michael Dunn Trial verdict to show America just who our brown and black children REALLY are!

And let me tell you, NEVER has the Twittersphere — black or white — been in such silent-awe and NEVER have our kids shined brighter!:)

Justis - #DangerousBlackKids

Be careful. Justis might use his graphing calculator to formulate you to death. #DangerousBlackKids

No need for me even to attempt to define Black Twitter, when Soraya Nadia McDonald of the Washington Post did it so splendidly!:

Black Twitter is part cultural force, cudgel, entertainment and refuge. It is its own society within Twitter, replete with inside jokes, slang and rules, centered on the interests of young blacks online — almost a quarter of all black Internet users are on […]

By |February 19th, 2014|Events, Journal|4 Comments

BEAUTY IN TRUTH: The Nature of This Flower Is To Bloom…

Alice Walker - Beauty In TruthThough not the case, it feels like I waited a really long time for Beauty in Truth, Pratibha Parmar’s (Kali Films) documentary about Author, Poet, Advocate, Womanist Alice Walker.

Beauty in Truth premiered in London on March 10, 2013. I viewed it by the grace of PBS American Masters series this past Thursday — twice.

So worth the short wait. What a gift to me and Alice’s multitude of admirers. Thank you Pratibha!:)

There were many sweet moments throughout the piece that gave me pause, choked me up, made me laugh aloud. To ‘meet’ the human Alice Walker, apart from the author whose words 25+ years ago gave me release to be me, was surreal. Having context to the life experiences shaping her work? Hearing the narratives of my other sheroes Sonia Sanchez, Jewelle Gomez, Sapphire, Evelyn C. White and Beverly Guy-Sheftall? Man… priceless!

“When I couldn’t deal with reality around me, I would create something.” – Alice Walker

I knew Beauty in Truth would immediately prompt me to write. Alice’s writing has been liberating my inner-voice for a very, very long time!:)

At some point my 14 year old son, Justis joined me to take it all in; he’s grown up in a house filled with Alice’s books — some […]

Finding NO Peace In PEACEWOOD: My WINGFIELD Ancestors Plantation Home

Peacewood I - WINGFIELD Wilkes County GAWINGFIELD-CADE-SAUNDERS House (PEACEWOOD) circa 1936

When I really peer beneath the surface of our country’s damaged history, and how human transgressions have been processed by the descendants inheriting it, I’m challenged to find our cultural silver lining.

I believe the healing salve for historic ignorance and human cruelty lies within our yet to be lived future; to be championed by the untainted souls of descendants far removed from the slave legacy I inherited.

Am I saying Generations X, Baby Boomers and beyond are hopeless? Sadly, yes.

The longer I live, I find it harder to vest in the goodness of mankind when he’s still very much covered in his Ancestors history-stamped residue.

For example, while scanning this 2010 Tours of Home blog post regarding PEACEWOOD, the plantation my WINGFIELD Ancestors built and sustained while enslaved by Thomas WINGFIELD and his descendants, I immediately became angry reading this narrative:

This beautiful old plantation home is a significant and interesting example of a house assembled from different periods and made into a columned plantation seat in the 1840s and 1850s during the period of prosperity before the Civil War.

Beautiful?! William Johnson is referring to the time period when MY ANCESTORS were bought, sold, raped, bred, tormented, overworked and subjugated to the discretion of his or her WINGFIELD owner. A period when their free labor was exploited, bartered […]

U.S. COLORED TROOPS: WINGFIELD Union Soldiers of the Civil War

Company B 103 Regiment - Unidentified Civil War UNION SoldierEarlier tonight Bernita ALLEN (Air Force SME) of AAGSAR (African American Genealogy and Slave Ancestry Research) shared an awesome site to research your Civil War Ancestors, the National Park Service: Soldiers and Sailors Database.

I’ve already identified 8 WINGFIELD Civil War Soldiers I need to research further to determine if a family connection exists!

Albeit connected by SURNAME, blood and/or plight, I honor these WINGFIELD men of service. I’ll keep you posted on connections too! AMAZING!:)

Luckie

*****************

Wingfield, Albert

  • Regiment Name: 13th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union

Wingfield, Alexander

  • Regiment Name: 115th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union

Wingfield, Charles

  • Regiment Name: 95th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union

Wingfield, Charles

  • Regiment Name: 97th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union

Wingfield, John

  • Regiment Name: 95th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union
  • Alternate Name: John/Winfield

Wingfield, John

  • Regiment Name: 97th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union
  • Alternate Name: John/Winfield

Wingfield, John

  • Regiment Name: 103rd Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union
  • Alternate Name: John/Wingfield

Wingfield, William

  • Regiment Name: 1st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union

USCT Recruitment Poster

NOTE: NPS Soldiers and Sailors database results returned 222 WINGFIELD Confederate Soliders. I also plan to research my Confederate Ancestors of military service

REFERENCES:

1832 Inventory & Appraisement Estate of Edmund CODY – Warren County Georgia

Ike & Anne May HILLMAN - Greene County GAEdmund and Michael CODY were the sons of James Archdeacon CODY and Sarah WOMACK. According to Michael’s will, their property lines were adjoined, along with George HARDAWAY’S land. George married Sarah CODY, Edmund’s daughter. The JOHNSON and HILLMAN families were also close by.

Edmund’s descendants originally owned my maternal line – Rachel, Ailey I, Ailey II, Catie, Dicey; Michael’s descendants my paternal line – Elbert, Old Rose, Rosetta, Grace. Eventually, as CODYS died and willed my Ancestors down their family line, and the slaves married and intermingled, the division became far more blurry.

My theory is my 5th Grandfather Elbert CODY owned by Michael, first had children Catie and Ailey II with Ailey I, my 5th Grandmother owned by Edmund first and then his grandson Robert CODY. Sometime after 1855 Elbert began having children with Dicey, also owned by Bob CODY. They remained together post-Emancipation.

The number one question to answer, were Ailey I and Dicey sisters, and was Rachel Mother to both? If yes, this would make Rachel my second 6th Warren County Grandmother, believing Old Rose (owned by Michael CODY) to be the other.

I also need to confirm if Robert Donelson CODY died in 1852 and if he did, which CODY purchased his estate? Catie was born about 1850 and had memories of being on the plantation with “Master CODY”. This tells me I need to look further than Bob CODY and revisit Pierce’s slave narrative for missed clues.

Could Marion Michael (Madison’s Brother, another Michael Descendant) have been […]

ROSE CODY Chronicles: What Became of Our NEWTON Rose?

Rosetta CODY & King COOK - Newton ML 1871Well it’s been an exciting research week for me and the realization of 1864 slave catcher’s receipts for Rose, Mary and Garrison CODY have birthed new life into my recently quiet CODY Ancestors! Read about this week’s events here – ROSE CODY: She Saying Something Now!:)

Eventually, I will post a copy of the receipts shared with me by researchers Mark AUSLANDER and J.P. GODFREY, my most recently discovered CODY-descended cousin. Eventually. Just doesn’t feel like the right time now.

So what do I know?: