January 2014

ROSE CODY Chronicles: What Became of Our NEWTON Rose?

By |January 19th, 2014

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!:)

By |January 16th, 2014

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 |January 15th, 2014

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, […]

#DREAMFORWARD Call To Action: Congressman John LEWIS, 1961 Freedom Rider

By |January 13th, 2014

Congressman John LewisCongressman John LEWIS, 1961 Freedom Rider:

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, turning it into a modern-day pulpit. He saw an America where men and women of all colors would be loved equally as God’s children. He invited us to not be satisfied until ‘justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’ We have come a long way in these fifty years, but we are not there yet. We need to find ways to share our common humanity, instead of finding differences to divide us. I am encouraged by #DREAMFORWARD’s efforts to reaffirm Dr. King’s Dream for the future. I hope young people are inspired by this observance to choose the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence. Young people are the future, and more than ever before, we need them to be unafraid to stand up for what is right, to speak up and speak out, to get in the way and to cause some good trouble in the name of a better America. We must dare to carry the dream of a world that is more fair and more just. If we do those things, if we keep the faith and keep our eyes on the prize, we can advance Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dream in 2014 and beyond.”

All RACES. All AGES. One PURPOSE. #DREAMFORWARD

01.15.14 #DREAMFORWARD

By |January 13th, 2014

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

Image Source: Dina Wakley

Tao of Luckie, The Four Agreements & Walking In Wisdom! 2014 Is My Year!:)

By |January 9th, 2014

The Four Agreements - Miguel RuizOn most days the folks I interact with have no idea I’m a longtime practicing Buddhist. I’m not robed. I don’t walk around chanting the Lotus Sutra or quoting The Buddha. And though I’ve determined to excommunicate my potty-mouth in 2014, possess the ability to cuss like a sailor!:)

I see me as a spiritual hybrid, equally comfortable with chanting and meditation, as I am with honoring my Yoruba Orisha and Ancestors. I take comfort in the Gospel Music handed-down from a steadfast Christian family and can quote scripture often — a propensity that tickles my older sister Gina to no end!:)

But when I weigh my spiritual hybrid self against Dawn’s of Answering The Ancestors Call analysis of DNA and Ancestral Affinities: Is it in the Genes?, it does make COMPLETE sense!

EVERY BIT of who I am spiritually, has also been identified in who I am geneticallyDNA CENTRAL: 23andMe ~ I See My True Colors Shining Through!:)

Though I realized this several years ago, I never really was The Accidental Buddhist! I haven’t been discovering, I’ve been remembering!

I have a fused set of [Buddhist, Christian, Yoruba, Zen, […]

Thanks To You AAGSAR’s #BLOGFEST2014 Was EPIC!:)

By |January 8th, 2014

Dora KOONCE & son, James HARDY(EN) KOONCEI’d searched ALL DAY for the word to sum up my feelings regarding our first New Year’s #BLOGFEST – We Call Your Name event. Then after the tweets died down and we were all descending from our Ancestors clouds, Bernita (still a NEW KID herself) of Voices Inside My Head nailed it, “BLOGFEST was epic!”.

It was indeed. I’ve never in all my years of researching genealogy, felt more connected to a body of work, than I do today. I never planned on it, have frequently complained about it, and sometimes get up the nerve to question the Ancestors why they have me doing it. But I know this work is Divine, and I’m so thankful to be a part of bringing not just my, but MANY Ancestors out of the dark. They are SHINING. BREATHING. REJOICING!

I’m hard on you NEW KIDS because I need you to embrace fully the responsibility that rests on your shoulders. And should the day come I take hiatus, I want you equipped with EVERYTHING you need to push your Ancestors, and our collective Community FORWARD.

NEW KIDS your work will bloom and spread. Many will follow your lead. If you call them, Ancestors and newly connected Cousins will come (in my best James Earl Jones, Field of Dreams voice). You’ve shifted the landscape and narrative of our genealogy research FOREVER.

I thank you

We Call Your Name

By |January 4th, 2014

We Call Your Name

When I was a young girl living at home, sometimes, just before I dropped off to sleep, I would see the air of my room filled with Spirits. They didn’t say anything to me. They didn’t frighten me. They were just there, indistinct, swirling.

On Saturdays my mother would drive us over to my grandparent’s house on Detroit’s East Side. My mother and Aunt sat in the front. We four cousins squeezed into the back seat. In the winter it was dark. If I was lucky enough to get a window, I’d look into the lit windows of the houses we passed and wonder about the people and the stories they were living.

Each of our blogs is like those lighted windows. In them we tell our Ancestor’s stories, stories to be read by our families and by the rest of the community. Stories that are so much more varied and moving and true than any stereotyped version of our history could ever be.

Today, as we launch over 25 new African American Genealogy blogs during the AAGSAR Blogfest 2014, I can feel the Ancestor’s Spirits swirling around us as they see their stories being told, their pictures shared and their names being called.

To Our Ancestors,

… we stand before you now, your living legacy, the flesh and blood of our collective dreaming, and we realize with a knowing deeper than the flow of human blood in human veins that we are part of something better, truer, deeper.

We speak your names.
We speak your names.

                                    “We Speak Your Names” Pearl Cleage, pg. 15

River Rise: Our Ancestors Are Calling…

By |January 3rd, 2014

AncestorsOn many levels I’ve always had a close connection to India.Arie. Our Atlanta roots. Our Oshun nature. My love and respect for her family – Mother, Simpson and Big Bro J’on. Though I didn’t have opportunity to fulfill my promise, in 2009 I was offered a gift to design her brand, Soul Bird. And Lord, the music…

India’s music ALWAYS seems to flow in parallel with my life journey. I often find sanctuary in her melodies.

This morning I take refuge in River Rise from her Testimony: Vol 2, Love & Politics album. By far one of my favorite tracks, River Rise is a beautiful, sincere petition to the Ancestors for guidance. A call to return to all things familiar and soul-fortifying.

As we make final preparations for our first AAGSAR BLOGFEST2014 on Sunday, Jan 5th and set our feet for a New Year overflowing with Ancestor discoveries, this is my wish for myself and all those seeking to connect with their lost lineage.

Not to fly blind. Be my eyes. I surrender. Show me the way…

There was always a power I could feel
It was guidance to tell me the way to go
But nowadays I feel like I can’t hear that voice
I’ve been flying blind
I need You to come and be my eyes

River rise, carry me back home
I cannot remember the way
River rise, carry me back home
I […]

KWANZAA ~ Principle 7: IMANI = Faith

By |January 1st, 2014

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

In some capacity I’ve worked to uplift my community for the greater part of 30 years. I’ve been volunteer, counselor, advocate, analyst, champion, cheerleader and organizer. I’ve worked on all sides — government, local, non-profit and private sector. I’ve supported politicians, civic leaders, civil rights heroes and everyone in between.

I do have Imani (faith) in the rightness of our efforts and victory over our struggles is attainable — to some degree. I do believe but my faith doesn’t rest in people, flawed just like me, anymore. My faith has changed with every year, victory and disappointment.

I believe I have to change the world from where I’m standing and not relegate “deliverance” from struggle to someone other than ME.

I believe in the power of truth when spoken with honorable intentions. I believe in doing what’s just and honorable, even when it’s damn hard to do! I believe bad karma can be turned by being RELENTLESS in applying good.

I believe each day we all have an opportunity to get it (life) right. Or at least make it better. I believe in my responsibility to my community.

I dig Toni Cade BAMBARA’s take on truth, responsibility and community…

“My responsibility to myself, my neighbors, my family and the human family is to try to tell the truth. That ain’t easy. There are so few truth-speaking traditions in this society in which the myth of “Western civilization” has claimed the allegiance of so many. We have rarely been encouraged and equipped to appreciate the […]