Journal

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 CODY. 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/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’s 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 Donnelson 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 the CODY owner after Robert?

CODY Ancestors identified in Edmund’s […]

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?:

ROSE CODY: She Saying Something Now!:)

It has been a SURREAL few days.

On Monday night, deep in the midst of final #DREAMFORWARD preparation I found myself on GOOGLE poking for family slave document leads on Emory University’s President James Edward DICKEY, son of James Madison DICKEY, the Methodist minister who was the second owner of my 4th Grandmother Catie WINGFIELD-DORSEY.

How I landed on the AJC article referencing Emory’s slave history and research work by Emory Professor Leslie HARRIS, I cannot tell you. However that lead to my emailing Ms. HARRIS, which lead to additional outreach to Mark AUSLANDER, author of The Accidental Slaveowner. Which leads to a currently running research email thread on its 12th iteration!:)

On the other side of my Ancestor breadcrumb trail there’s Lisa HENDERSON of Scuffalong: Genealogy (our newest AAGSAR member) who inadvertently connects me to an acquaintance, artist Lynn Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier of Miss Kitty’s Cloak believing our Emory, Oxford, Methodist-church research might somehow be connected.

And guess what? It is! Every person I’ve bumped into over the past two days leads back to the exact same Ancestor — Rose CODY!:)

Rose was the first slave purchased by Michael CODY of Warrenton Georgia and many of the CODY slaves descend from her. Rose summoned me in 2009, and I produced these now archived posts […]

A Friend Of Friends: Lessons From The Underground Railroad #TALIAFERRO

By sjtaliaferro

One night during the holidays I watched one of my favorite movies, Roots: The Gift. The movie stars LeVar Burton and Louis Gossett, Jr., in their roles as Kunta Kinte and Fiddler from the television series Roots. In this movie, Kunta and Fiddler accompany their owner to another plantation at Christmas time for a party, and become involved in a plan to help some runaway slaves escape via the Underground Railroad to freedom. A simple, yet powerful story. There are many messages and lessons to be learned from Roots: The Gift.

In one of my favorite scenes, Fiddler and Kunta are helping the group of runaway slaves get to the river where they are to meet a boat that will take them further on their journey to freedom. Along the way they make a stop to pick up other “passengers” on the Underground Railroad. When they come to a farmhouse, Kunta approaches and knocks. The man asks…”who goes”? Kunta responds “Friend of Friends”…in acknowledgment, the man replies “Friend of Friends”. A group of “passengers” exit the house. Kunta, Fiddler, and the group continue their journey.

This year, I was particularly moved by the Underground Railroad scene, and even more so by the phrase uttered by Kunta- Friend of Friends. The phrase, and variations of it, was used along the Underground Railroad as a password or signal to those assisting runaway slaves on their journey North…to freedom. The traditional response to the “who goes there” password is said to have been “A Friend of a Friend”.

A Friend of Friends. Say it… A Friend of Friends, again…A Friend of Friends. It evokes such a comforting, welcoming feeling. A feeling of trust, of sharing, of caring, of kindness, […]

01.15.14 #DREAMFORWARD

DREAMFORWARD Inspiration #2Be open to whatever comes next… #DREAMFORWARD

Image Source: Dina Wakley