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

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Bonus Army by Paul Dickson Thomas B. Allen

An American Epic EX-SERVICE MEN DEMAND JOBS No one knows No one cares if I'm weary Oh how soon they forgot Château-Thierry -From Newsreel XLVI, The Big Money, a volume in the USA Trilogy by John Dos Passos President Woodrow Wilson and his wife rode in an open carriage from the White House to the Capitol for his second inaugural on the morning of Monday, March 5, 1917. For the first time since the Civil War, a president was given special protection on Inauguration Day. Letters threatening the president's life had alarmed the Secret Service. Agents had inspected every building on Pennsylvania Avenue along the mile-long route. Soldiers were stationed eight feet apart on both sides of the broad avenue. Full Story:,1413,36~27~2679627,00.html

Focus on day-to-day life shows much about race in America

BY JANN MALONE TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 30, 2005 Early on in the research for "Israel on the Appomattox," Melvin Patrick Ely wasn't so sure he had a book at all. For the first two or three years," he said, "I had grave, grave doubts that this book could be written, just because what I was finding was so fragmentary that I didn't know whether it would all coalesce." You already know the end of that story: If everything hadn't coalesced for Ely, you wouldn't be reading this one. His book tracing the history of Israel Hill, a community of freed slaves established well before the Civil War near Farmville, was published by Knopf last fall to critical praise. Full Story:!flair&s=1045855936229

Friday, January 28, 2005

Strom Thurmond's biracial daughter sheds life of secrecy

By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY The daughter grew up in a house without indoor plumbing, rode the back of the bus and attended a college for blacks only. The father was raised in a stately home with black servants — one of them her mother — and later became South Carolina's governor and ran for president, espousing racial segregation. One family, two Americas. The story of Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the biracial daughter of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, reveals how two people, bound by blood and duty, lived separate, unequal lives. They developed a limited relationship that, despite the anguish it caused her, she kept secret his entire life. "I did love my father. He was very good to us," Washington-Williams, 79, says in an interview to promote today's release of her autobiography, Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond Full Story:

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Difference Between Politically Incorrect and Historically Wrong

If you're going to call a book "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History," readers will expect some serious carrying on about race, and Thomas Woods Jr. does not disappoint. He fulminates against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, best known for forcing restaurants and bus stations in the Jim Crow South to integrate, and against Brown v. Board of Education. And he offers up some curious views on the Civil War - or "the War of Northern Aggression," a name he calls "much more accurate." The introduction bills the book as an effort to "set the record straight," but it is actually an attempt to push the record far to the right. More than a history, it is a checklist of arch-conservative talking points. The New Deal public works programs that helped millions survive the Depression were a "disaster," and Social Security "damaged the economy." The Marshall Plan, which lifted up devastated European nations after World War II, was a "failed giveaway program." And the long-discredited theory of "nullification," which held that states could suspend federal laws, "isn't as crazy as it sounds." Full Review:

Fazendeville: Legacy of a lost black community

Almost two centuries ago, a famous battle occurred on the sugar-cane fields on Ignace de Chalmette’s plantation in St. Bernard Parish. On that date, the Battle of New Orleans was fought and won by a curious assembly of American militia, U.S. Marines, Creole militia groups, free men of color, slaves, businessmen and pirates. This was the last time a foreign army conducted operations on American soil. It was the last time Americans and British opposed one another on the field of battle. From this date forward, a strong alliance would grow between the former combatants. It was a historic event. The significance of this historic battle prompted plans for a monument in 1855, but because of a shortage of money, it was not completed until the land was transferred to the federal government in 1907. On Aug. 10, 1939, Congress established Chalmette Battlefield as a National Historical Park. Complete Story:

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Princeville, flooded in 1999, has increased its population, hopes

Recount of census will help bring new financing from state THE ASSOCIATED PRESS RALEIGH Princeville, a slave-founded town that was devastated by flooding from Hurricane Floyd in 1999, is making a comeback after all. A special census recount found that the town has 2,029 residents, more than twice as many as the 974 found during the official count released in 2000. The increased head count means an additional $300,000 a year in state money - a big deal in a municipality where the annual budget is $1.1 million. At the time of the 2000 census, Princeville, about 60 miles northeast of Raleigh, was still mostly a disaster zone. For nine days in September 1999, much of the town founded by freed slaves in 1865 sat under as much as 11 feet of water from the flooded Tar River. Homes and business rotted and warped, and all the town's public housing units, including 50 apartments in a single complex, had to be demolished. Most residents abandoned their soggy, sagging homes for drier ground. Many of them didn't return for more than a year - after census-takers had finished their work in the spring of 2000. Source:!localnews&s=1037645509099

Black History Profile: Revels

By Caryn j. grant Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 Hiram Revels began a rich legacy of service of African-Americans in the Senate, and Barack Obama is will probably not to be the last to follow in his footsteps.The 2004 election was a groundbreaking period for African Americans, as Obama received national attention with his speech at the Democratic NationalConvention, which was soon followed by his election as senator for the state of Illinois. Although Obama is the only African-American in the United States Senate today, the claim of being the first goes to Hiram Rhodes Revels. More than 130 years ago, Revels became the first African-American to hold a seat in the U.S. Senate.On Sept. 27, 1827 in Fayetteville, N.C., Revels was born of mixed African and Coatan Indian heritage to free parents. At the age of 15, he was an apprentice to his older brother at a barbershop. However, in 1841, his brother died, leaving Revels to run the shop himself. Running the barbershop was not the vision that he had for his future, so Revels left the shop to further his education. Complete Profile:

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Group digs for artifacts, memories of Angola

By DEBI SPRINGER BRADENTON -- On a quiet, residential street, archaeologist Bill Burger goes about his task, digging holes in yards and methodically sifting through piles of dirt. He perks up when a round, black piece of glass emerges in his shaker box.His hands, deft at sifting after decades of archaeology work, finger a sliver of black glass. It fits perfectly into the side of the broken chunk of glass he has just unearthed."That's about as exciting as we've seen so far," Burger said about his recent find.He estimates that the glass, the bottom of an imported liquor bottle, is about 200 years old. But it's not enough to prove the tiny plot of yard in east Bradenton at the mouth of the Braden River is part of a former slave and Seminole community from the early 1800s called Angola. Full Story:

Homeward trek for the people apartheid exiled

A multiracial Cape Town district bulldozed in 1966 is now being recreated

Jeevan Vasagar, Sunday January 23, 2005, The Observer

A thick white cloud unfurls from the peak of Table Mountain as a swirling stream of blood runs into the gutter by the Zeenatul mosque. Worshippers throng outside the green-domed mosque, where sheep are being slaughtered for the Muslim festival of Eid, as they have done for decades. When apartheid's bulldozers came to level District Six, the places of worship were the only buildings spared. But on the battered hillside where a multiracial community was supposed to be reborn, there is little sign of a renaissance.

Full Story:,6903,1396498,00.html

Friday, January 21, 2005

John Hope Franklin: 90 years of making history

Candles, balloons and gifts. This weekend, Duke can expect much birthday cheer as the campus celebrates distinguished John Hope Franklin’s 90th birthday. The celebration of the James B. Duke professor emeritus of history will feature two photography exhibits chronicling his life, a panel discussion with two of Franklin’s former students, and culminate in performances by the Fisk University Jubilee singers. After publishing his first work at 23, Franklin has since chronicled American history in his 20 books and 100 articles. His current research deals with runaway slaves from early southern plantations. After 70 years of study, Franklin has covered a large variety of subjects but still believes there is more to be discovered. “I’d like to see more exploration of obscure subjects. There is history all around—right here, a history of Durham,” he said Full Story:

Russell Simmons Releasing DVD Series On African-Americans

Black History month starts in February and Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons will release a new DVD series that focuses on various African-American trailblazers. The DVD's, titled "The History Makers: Faith," "The History Makers: Courage" and "The History Makers: Success," detail inspiring success stories of African American luminaries who refused the lot handed out by an oppressive society, and pursued something greater. Developed in collaboration with The History Makers, the largest national non-profit organization dedicated to recording and preserving the personal histories of influential African Americans, Simmons Lathan Media Group (SLMG) teamed with new Def Filmmaker Nancy Oey to write, direct and co-produce the series. Full Story:

Warner Bros. to Bring Movie on Negro Baseball Leagues to Television

MANHATTAN, Kan., Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Imagine throwing your 50th lifetime no hitter and then walking home still wearing your dusty game clothes because you're not allowed to shower in the stadium you just helped sell out. Or, picture hitting the only home run ever out of Yankee Stadium and being told you can't celebrate with dinner in a restaurant down the road because of the color of your skin. Negro Baseball League players didn't have to imagine. These were real-life inequalities they dealt with on a daily basis from 1920 to 1947. After all, America was a segregated society in those days with 'No Blacks' on the doors of most hotels, restaurants, theaters, and restrooms, etc., all across America -- with no Blacks in Major League Baseball either. Full Story:

Thursday, January 20, 2005

BOOK REVIEW: 'My Jim' is a moving tale spun from 'Huckleberry Finn'

By RON CHARLES, The Christian Science Monitor Last Updated: January 19, 2005, 09:41:27 AM PST (CSM) - "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" started offending people even before it was released. At the printer, somebody noticed that in one illustration, Silas Phelps is exposing himself to Huck. That near disaster was expensively corrected, but all the cutting and pasting weren't enough to save the novel from condemnation. The Concord Library in Massachusetts immediately banned it, and it's been banned in some places - often in many places - ever since. The original objections to this "veriest trash" focused on Huck's naughty behavior and speech: He lies, he steals, he says "sweat" instead of "perspiration." But the debate shifted to more substantive ground in 1954 when the NAACP objected to the novel's racial slurs and demeaning stereotypes. A number of thoughtful black critics and parents have elaborated on that charge over the years. In 1996, the arguments flared up again when Jane Smiley wrote an essay in Harper's complaining about the racist elements of "Huck Finn" and the way it's presented in schools. At the time, I happened to be teaching "Huck Finn" at Smiley's old high school, so I read her essay with considerable interest (but no personal offense - I joined the faculty many years after she had graduated.) "My Jim," by Nancy Rawles, a black writer in Seattle, should stir the embers of this critical debate yet again. Her new novel stems from a crucial passage in Twain's masterpiece when Jim says he plans to buy or steal his family from slavery. For Huck, such shocking talk leads to a moral revelation about the value of his friend; for Rawles, it led to her own moving story about Jim's wife. Full Review:

Stark history of slave survival endures in coastal Ga. village

WILLIAM SCHEMMEL For the Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 01/19/05 MIDWAY — The Union army's scorched-earth devastation of Liberty County was so thorough it deprived even freed slaves of a means of survival. Faced with starvation, 250 formed a closely knit community called Seabrook Village. With little outside help, they built simple houses, churches and a one-room schoolhouse. They planted rice, corn and other crops, raised livestock, ground cane into syrup, and used their ingenuity to make it through generations of hard times. The community, 30 miles south of Savannah, stayed mostly intact until the 1930s and '40s when young men went into military service or to work on the docks and shrimp boats in Savannah, Jacksonville and Brunswick. With the aid of missionaries, a few young women went north to become teachers and other professions open to them. Since 1989, a biracial group of Liberty Countians has been restoring Seabrook as an African-American living history museum. Along with the school, built in 1875, the buildings on the 104-acre site include homes, a cane-grinder, corn cribs, an early 1900s train depot and a community outhouse. An outdoor pump provided water. Collectively, these artifacts tell a story of pride and endurance that most of the site's 2,000 to 3,000 yearly visitors have difficulty comprehending. Full Story:

Historian works to identify slaves buried in Rhinebeck Cemetery

By Patricia Doxsey, Freeman staff A walk through the Rhinebeck Cemetery offers a glimpse of this town's prominent history and a peek at the many residents who, while helping to forge a nation, made the community their home. But tucked away behind the final resting grounds of such well-known residents as Vice President Levi P. Morton, Alice Astor and several members of the Livingston family are scores of other, less-known members of the community, who, despite their almost complete anonymity, helped shape the area. IT'S ON this half-acre plot, a grassy knoll that lies behind the main cemetery, that many of the former slaves of Rhinebeck lie. Full Story:

Premiere set for film on Rev. Harrison

By D.R. BahlmanBerkshire Eagle Staff PITTSFIELD -- A documentary film of the life of a 19th-century Pittsfield clergyman and freed slave who distinguished himself as an advocate of civil rights will premiere in the city Saturday. Proceeds from the showing of "A Trumpet at the Walls of Jericho: The Untold Story of Rev. Samuel Harrison" at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Berkshire Museum will benefit a local society that aims to renovate and preserve the house on Third Street where Harrison lived. Full Story:,1413,101~7514~2657853,00.html

'Slaves, Salt, Sex & Mr. Crenshaw'

Books at the Buzz to host signing for local author By Linda Settle Special correspondent Jon Musgrave became a familiar name in this region during the late 1990s when he received well-deserved recognition for his work on one of Southern Illinois' most infamous landmarks, the Old Slave House near Equality. Musgrave's interest in both the issue of slavery in Illinois and the house itself developed while he was working as a reporter for the Daily Register in Harrisburg. Full Story:

Pontine Theatre presents the life of a freed slave

Pontine Theatre’s 2004-05 Performance Series at the West End Studio Theatre continues with four performances by Puppetsweat Theater of its original play, "The Life of James Mars: A Slave Born and Sold in Connecticut." The performance times are prices are Friday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. ($19); Saturday, Jan. 29 at 2:30 p.m. ($16) and at 7:30 p.m. ($19); and Sunday, Jan. 30 at 2:30 p.m. ($19). Discounts are available for seniors, students and ‘starving artists.’ Pontine’s West End Studio Theatre is located at 959 Islington Street, Portsmouth, NH. Full Story:

Afro-Latinos: Discovering Identity, Organizing

News Report, Askia Muhammad ,The Final Call, Jan 20, 2005 WASHINGTON ( - In the minds of most people, Latin America is the exotic land of travel brochures, south of the equator, where racial issues don’t exist.The reality is distinctly different.“The truth is, we wish you heard more about race as a central element in the inequality in Latin America,” Jacqueline Mazza, an expert about African Descendant Issues at the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), told reporters Dec. 16.The problems facing Blacks in Latin America are magnified because the Black presence has been overlooked until recently. Full Story:

Unearthing a mystery

Ecuadoran DNA connection helps Portsmouth trace its African roots By Kay Lazar, Globe Correspondent January 20, 2005

A chance e-mail from the South American coast may help identify African remains found half a world away, in Portsmouth, N.H. Hot on the trail is Bruce Jackson, a relentless Boston scientist who already has conducted preliminary DNA tests that show a connection between the Portsmouth remains and genetic patterns found in the Congo region of Africa. But civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has thwarted scientists' attempts to collect DNA samples to more precisely identify the ethnic or tribal origin of the 13 Portsmouth skeletons, which were unearthed in 2003 during routine sewer repairs. Crews found wooden coffins in an area marked as a ''Negro Burying Ground" on a 1705 map.

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A passion for finding family roots

Blacks in Colorado dig deep into past to discover their origins By Bill Scanlon, Rocky Mountain NewsJanuary 17, 2005 Peeling back the layers of her distant past, Annie Mabry discovered teachers, carpenters, farmers, freemen and slaves. Ultimately, she found a court record of the sale of 8-year-old Isaac Washington, her great- great grandfather. The same Isaac her father remembered as an old man, "a fine gentleman, caring and honorable. Full Story:,1299,DRMN_15_3476399,00.html

KU Ph.D. Student Researches Slavery's Legacy in African-American Families

University of Kansas doctoral candidate Thirkelle Harris Howard is researching a theory that most African-Americans are seventh or eighth cousins for her dissertation in American studies with an emphasis on family history and genealogy. Lawrence, Kansas - Howard estimates that about 85 percent to 90 percent of today's African-Americans are descendants of enslaved Africans brought to America between 140 and 385 years ago."About 400,000 to 600,000 Africans were brought to America as slaves, although I don't think anyone really knows for sure how many Africans were brought to America, because records were frequently not kept," Howard says. Using census guidelines, Howard estimates that about 200,000 to 300,000 of those slaves had children."Most people may have about 150,000 close or distant living relatives," Howard says. Yet because the names and births of slaves often were not recorded, proving relationships of ancestors living before 1865 can be hard to document today.Howard, who has traced her ancestry to the late 1700s, examines her own family history as an example of how closely related African-Americans are today. Using census records, archives, family Bibles and Internet connections, Howard has found relatives in her family tree with identical surnames living within the same region but is unable to document their relationships without DNA testing. Full Story:

A historic neighborhood fights to protect its identity

Soaring home prices have Sharp-Leadenhall worried By Jill Rosen, Baltimore Sun Staff Originally published January 20, 2005

Not long after Betty Bland-Thomas moved into her home on Cross Street in Sharp-Leadenhall four years ago, she began hauling a broom outside and sweeping the street. Not just the part in front of her home - the entire block."People would come up and ask me what I was doing, saying that's crazy," she says, laughing. "I'd just say I want it to look nice." The determined Bland-Thomas is poised to take on a more daunting task: The community president wants to turn the tide of market forces and block the sky-high home prices of neighboring Federal Hill and the Otterbein from spreading to Sharp-Leadenhall.City planners are trying to help her with a "master plan" that guarantees a number of affordable homes in the neighborhood, one of Baltimore's oldest African-American communities. The Planning Commission will consider the plan this afternoon.

Full Story:,1,5243056.story?coll=bal-local-headlines&ctrack=1&cset=true

Monday, January 17, 2005

Stuart graveyard is rich in black history

Almost a century of history rests with Stuart cemetery By Ana X. Ceron staff writerJanuary 17, 2005 STUART — The overseer of a small cemetery here, Richard McHardy is the ferryman who guides the dead on their last journey to the graveyard. The blue-eyed elder, the steward of a historic landmark, traverses other worlds, too. As Martin County observes a holiday commemorating the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., McHardy, the lone record-keeper at Walter Moore's Cemetery, carries the responsibility of sorting through decades-old receipts to find the final resting places of the departed in Stuart's first blacks-only burial site. Complete Story:,2545,TCP_16736_3476411,00.html

HISTORY LESSON: Many local youths don't know about King's legacy

By Emil Guillermo, Record Staff Writer Published Monday, January 17, 2005 You have today off. But do you know why? If you ask a young Black student such as Marque Willis, 16, about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he can go into raptures. Today is the national holiday that commemorates King, the civil rights leader who in 1968 was shot to death in Memphis, Tenn. "He was a civil rights leader, a great man and role model to all," Willis said just outside his Edison High School honors history class. "He didn't just contribute to African-Americans, but to the whole world, as far as everybody becoming equal." But in front of the school, ask two seniors, and they can barely articulate King's greatness. "Hmmm, we don't go over that stuff," said Curena Brownlee, 17. "He stood up for slavery rights and stuff," said Valerie Murillo, 17. "He tried to prevent slavery, I guess. Didn't he?" Complete Story:

Head of African American museum steeped in NW history

The Associated Press 1/16/2005, 12:14 p.m. PT SEATTLE (AP) — The Northwest roots of Carver Gayton's family go back to 1888, when his grandfather left Mississippi to work for a white doctor who was traveling here. John Thomas Gayton never left Seattle. The self-educated family patriarch was a barber and federal court librarian among other things, and went on to become one of this city's most prominent black leaders, helping found First African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Central District. Now his grandson has been appointed director of the much-anticipated Northwest African American Museum, slated to open in early 2007. Complete Story:

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Introduction to African American Genealogy

1 p.m. Jan. 29, Genesee District Library Headquarters, 4195 W. Pasadena Ave., Flint Township. Speaker: Dr. DeWitt Dykes of Oakland University, an authority on research into family history and genealogy, particularly Michigan African-American family history, and he was co-founder of Detroit's African American Genealogy Society and the Michigan Black History Network. (810) 732-0110

Former slave Winter built business empire

What can you tell me about Lewis Winter? He was an emancipated slave who established a successful business in Nashville and was on the board of Wilberforce (Ohio) University. I also understand he owned a bank in Nashville. What was its name? Are his descendants still in the Nashville area? — Sandra Jordan, St. Louis, Mo. Lewis Winter's amazing story leads from slavery to unimagined success in an era when prosperity was difficult for white Nashvillians and highly rare for anyone from an oppressed race. Born in 1839 and enslaved as a child, Winter built a wholesale produce company into a thriving business and helped start two Nashville financial institutions to aid other African-Americans. Full Story:

Friday, January 14, 2005

Slaves were no strangers

By Julie Nagazina/ CorrespondentThursday, January 13, 2005 While Hamilton and Wenham are generally assumed to have been untouched by considerations of slavery and abolition in the 1800s, there is clear evidence that residents of both towns were more than vaguely familiar with the issue. It is a fact that may seem unsettling to today's citizens as they anticipate the marking of Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Jan. 17. A volume in the archives of the Wenham Museum entitled, "Vital Records of Wenham," lists alphabetically by last name, the births, marriages and deaths of Wenham residents from 1643 to the end of 1849. At the end, however, there is a separate heading for "Negroes." The short phrases listed there, copied from church records and family Bibles, offer hints as to what life was like for New England's first generations of African-Americans. The words "servant of" appear frequently and last names are rarely used. Complete Story:

African American Arts Festival

The 18th annual African American Arts Festival begins Jan. 16 with the opening of the 14th Anniversary Founding Members Show at the African American Atelier. The festival celebrates artistic accomplishments and other achievements of African Americans and features a variety of citywide events celebrating African American culture. A reception for the Founding Members Show will be held Jan. 23. Another highlight is the African American Heritage Festival on March 12 at the Greensboro Cultural Center. Source:

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Gene Determines Risk of HIV-AIDS

The researchers screened more than 4,300 HIV-negative and HIV-positive people for a gene called CCL3L1, which codes for a protein that blocks HIV from infecting cells. People with more copies of the CCL3L1 gene than average were less likely to go on to develop AIDS. U.S. scientists Thursday said a new study shows people with more copies of a particular gene are less susceptible to contracting HIV-AIDS. The finding could lead to a screening test to identify a person's level of susceptibility to the fatal disease, reported a team of researchers, headed by scientists from the University of Texas Health Science Center and the U.S. Air Force, in Science Express online. The researchers screened more than 4,300 HIV-negative and HIV-positive people to determine the number of copies each had of a gene called CCL3L1. This gene codes for a protein that blocks HIV from infecting cells. People with more copies of the CCL3L1 gene than the average for others of the same geographical ancestry were less likely to become infected with HIV or go on to develop AIDS. For example, HIV-negative African-American adults had an average of four copies of CCL3L1, so an African-American with five or more copies of the gene would be less susceptible to the disease Source:

Saturday, January 08, 2005

New Book Looks at Slavery through Lens of Love

Date: Thursday, January 06, 2005By: NIA NGINA MEEKS, Tales from the Underground Railroad conjure images of marshy trails, impalpable terror and snarling bloodhounds, all leading to the sweet scent of freedom north. Seldom does anyone focus on what might motivate someone to risk uncertain roads and unspeakable punishments. Yet Betty DeRamus looked at both, peeling back the familiar stories and finding declarations of true passion – not just for self determination, but for spouses, family, even God, in her debut release, Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad (Atria 2005), due next month. “The story of slavery is not just the story about trouble, but also triumph,” DeRamus told “We don’t talk about the triumph enough, how many of us managed to survive the worst of times by clinging to ourselves. We’re all we had.” In each of the 14 chapters of Fruit, DeRamus focuses on a different form of love and devotion that drove black people from – and sometimes even toward – slavery. Full Story:

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Interview: Jack Johnson biographer Geoffery C. Ward

There's one last unopened Holiday Season present for boxing fans who are able to view American Public Broadcasting television. On January 17, 2005, PBS will be broadcasting an original documentary film by Ken Burns written by Geoffery C. Ward on the mercurial life of former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. Ward is the author of thirteen books of history and biography and a screenwriter who has won four Emmies for historical documentaries for television. Full Interview:

The Stone That the Builder Refused": A sprawling story of revolution and Haiti

By John Sutherland Special to The Seattle Times Review "The Stone That the Builder Refused," Madison Smartt Bell's final novel of his Haitian trilogy, ends the epic of a remarkable revolution with messianic overtones. The title, while ostensibly taken from singer Bob Marley, was originally a biblical prophecy and is very appropriately applied to a great leader, Toussaint Louverture, father of this hemisphere's first black republic Book Review:

Sole Survivor

If the raid at Harpers Ferry had been a movie, Osborne Perry Anderson might have won Best Supporting Actor. And yet his role went largely unrecognized -- until a Northern Virginian moved it into the... By Eugene L. MeyerSunday, December 12, 2004; Page W20 They met furtively, first inside a wood-frame church, then in a school, then at a firehouse and finally at a Baptist church in the Canadian town of Chatham, all over two days in May 1858. There were 46 altogether, all men, 12 white and 34 black. They had come north to escape a society where blacks were often no more than chattel. So when their charismatic leader proposed an audacious plan to establish an independent free state for blacks in the southern Appalachians, there were no dissenters. Full Story:

Monday, January 03, 2005

An NAACP family legacy is handed down

By KELLEY BOUCHARD, Portland Press Herald Writer There are no visible scars, but racism has marked Gerald Talbot's life. In the mid-1960s, a landlord agreed to rent him an apartment in Portland's West End, then he reneged when Talbot returned to show the place to his wife, Anita, who has a darker complexion. At about the same time, Talbot twice failed the exam for a telephone company job when he was given only a few minutes to take the lengthy test. Later, the man who administered the exam told Talbot that he was instructed to make him fail because of his civil rights activities. Full Story:

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Professor to talk about genealogy

GENESEE COUNTY -- THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION Saturday, January 01, 2005 By Matt BachJOURNAL STAFF WRITER Oakland University history professor DeWitt Dykes will discuss the purpose, methods and sources of evidence regarding African-American genealogy. Dykes is an authority on research into family history and genealogy, particularly Michigan African-American family history. He was a co-founder of Detroit's African American Genealogy Society and the Michigan Black History Network. Sources he will talk about include U.S. Census data; marriage and death records; oral interviews; city directories; Social Security death index; wills and estate inventories; land, farm and plantation records; and records of slave-owning families. The presentation is at 1 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Genesee District Library Headquarters, 4195 W. Pasadena Ave. Details: (810) 732-0110. - Matt Bach