African American News and Genealogy

This site was developed to provide you with news that relates to African American Genealogy, History and News. Please feel free to forward this link to others. I hope you enjoy this site and good luck with your research! Cheers, Kenyatta D. Berry Managing Director

Friday, November 26, 2004

Black Caribs Celebrate Slave Ancestry in Guatemala

By Frank Jack Daniel LIVINGSTON, Guatemala (Reuters) - Coming from as far away as New York, hundreds of people celebrated the Black Carib Garifuna culture in this tiny Guatemalan port town on Friday, dancing in an annual tribute to the courage of escaped slaves. After an all night party, a three-day festival peaked on Friday with a dawn reenactment of the Garifuna's arrival in Guatemala by dugout canoe. People danced through the streets to rapid drum rhythms, drinking homemade liquor and singing call-and-answer songs about the hardships of their forefathers. The Garifuna are descendants of escaped slaves who mingled with Carib Indians on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. They speak a language which blends words and grammar from West Africa with the Caribbean's Arauak as well as French, English and Spanish. "For me this symbolizes the problems that my ancestors went through and every year I remember those that spearheaded our migration," said Alvin Laredo, 38, who came by boat from Belize for the celebration, accompanied by his two sisters, who wore traditional gingham cotton dresses. Fearful of this hybrid people's alliances with their French colonial rivals, in 1797 the British deported them to an uninhabited island near Honduras. They rapidly spread out along the Atlantic coast of Central America, settling in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. The port town of Livingston is one of their strongholds. Now almost half of the estimated 200,000 Garifuna live in the United States, mostly in New York City but also in Miami and Los Angeles. Many older Garifuna say their lifestyle -- based on their language, food, fishing and farming traditions -- is being lost although younger members see the festivals in Livingston and Belize, which began just a few years back, as a way of connecting with their roots. Prudence Miranda, 23, moved from Belize to Los Angeles three years ago and joined the U.S. Navy. She has served in Pakistan and the Persian Gulf but says she comes home every year to celebrate the festivals. "It helps us stay in touch because they celebrate it nowadays -- it reminds us," Miranda said. © Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Kan. State University Professor Gets to the Root of Genealogical Tree

MANHATTAN, Kan., Nov. 24 /U.S. Newswire/ -- An African proverb states "To know the future you must first know the past." As a high school student at Wichita East High School, Thirkelle Howard didn't know her past. Even worse, she didn't know she didn't know. Howard, an instructor and coordinator of multicultural programs in Kansas State University's College of Human Ecology, was the only student of color in a social science class at the high school. She was given an assignment by her instructor to complete a genealogy chart of her family. Howard talked to her parents, but could only complete the names of her parents and grandparents. Unfortunately her parents had little knowledge of their grandparents and virtually none about their great- grandparents. Howard's grandparents and great-grandparents, who had been slaves, did not talk about their experiences or their past. Read More:

Monday, November 15, 2004

Homeland sojourn reveals so little, yet so much

From a sample of DNA, Washington, D.C.-based African Ancestry determined that Leonard Pitts Jr. hails from the Songhay people of Niger and the Mende of Sierra Leone. Last summer, he made the trek to both countries to explore his heritage. This story, second in a two-part series, chronicles his visit to Sierra Leone. To see the first story in this series, click here. Read More:

Monday, November 08, 2004

U.S. Surgeon General's Family History Initiative

A new federal program aimed at raising public awareness of genetic predisposition to specific diseases helps individuals gather family health histories online, though the finished product currently ends up only on paper.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

News for November 3, 2004

Stroll in shabby old graveyard refreshes history A tour of Oaklawn Cemetery will open a vault of mystery, scandal and romance stories. Woman takes on feat of tracing history of black families Tracing ancestry complicated because of slavery Researching Your Own (Black) History Tony Burroughs knows about black roots — that's his book's title, after all. We talked with the expert genealogist about how to trace your family tree, and celebrate your own black history.