Dear Dr. Gates,

By way of Twitter, via a Rob Stanhope {aka @MaineRoots} *tweet*, I discovered the online magazine of which you are Editor-In-Chief this morning – The Root, and have spent the last hour or so, reading and taking in 50 Years of Black History.

In 2010, we the descendants of emancipated slaves, really live in an amazing place and time!

A time where we have the opportunity to offer our perspective freely, in the format of our choosing. A time where our collective and individual voice matters. A time when we can turn on the TV and show our sons and daughters the face of a President who looks just like them — and many, MANY other honorable, successful, brown Americans along with him.

Albeit far from perfect, to a large degree, this is the day our Ancestors prayed and hoped for. A day that presented opportunity.

Greensboro sit inI think only when you view a retrospective like 50 Years of Black History do you realize how far as a people we’ve traveled and to what degree our Ancestors and Freedom Liberators fought to allow us to live as we do today.

I’ve followed your work for many years Dr. Gates, and while I respect your achievements in education, it is your ability to rebirth long forgotten and/or lost genealogical histories, that I most admire. You skillfully piece together lineage that has been broken and offer Ancestors redemption — you restore their rightful place in our history and memories.

What a gift to have!

I am inspired by and own your African-American Lives Series. I regularly share it with my kids, so they’ll better understand the broad impact of Slavery to our culture — celebrities and non-celebrities alike, we share a common challenge with tracing our genealogical roots.

I am equally as anxious to view your upcoming Faces of America Series, to see what mysteries will be revealed amongst the broader American culture being featured. I suspect, it will show us that underneath it all, we {brown-red-white-yellow}, are really not so different.

However I do have one, small request. I ask that you also consider — in the sharing of your gift — the lesser known, non-celebrity descendants who both want and need to know who they are.

Unlike the celebrities you’ve featured, we spend COUNTLESS hours in search of our Ancestors histories, often exhausting our personal finances to do so.

While I know it’s not likely that you could personally provide services, it would be wonderful if your research team could host “history detective” style workshops in various cities and/or establish a [much needed] presence at the Family History Expos that move throughout the country.

Even a live-chat or WebEx type of engagement with researchers could be beneficial to helping tackle our respective “brick walls”.

With the advanced technology tools we have at our fingertips daily, there are many ways that we, the on-the-ground family historians, could benefit from your research expertise and knowledge.

To yield a true communal impact, we need a grassroots genealogy movement that produces a mountain of successes.

It would be wonderful if you and your team could help lead the way.

Supporting you always,

Luckie Daniels.

[Image Source: – Feb. 1, 1960, four students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, N.C., begin a sit-in at Woolworth’s Drug Store.]