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, July 31, 2005

Black families celebrate heritage, history

By KAREN WILKINSON ROSLYN -- More than 100 years after relocating to Roslyn, black families continue to celebrate their heritage and freedom. Kanashibushan, a 72-year-old black Roslyn resident, descends from the Craven family, which relocated from Richmond, Va., to the coal mining community in 1888.At the time the Eastern European and white miners' labor union, Knights of Labor, was striking for safer working conditions, better hours and higher pay. Blacks were brought in by train, unbeknownst to them, as strike breakers in August 1888 by the Northern Pacific Coal Co. For two years they were forced to live in the nearby town of Ronald.A year later black families in the area celebrated the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation signing, which freed slaves in rebellious states during the Civil War, by having a picnic to mark the event. It was called the Emancipation Proclamation Celebration Picnic at the time. Today it's known as the Roslyn Black Pioneer Picnic.More than 200 people from across the country are anticipated to attend the annual celebration on Aug. 6 at Roslyn City Park. The picnic is open to the public and starts at noon.Kanashibushan said the highest attendance the picnic has seen was 400 and the lowest was 200. She has family traveling from Georgia for the event. Kanashibushan said there was a time when a diverse crowd enjoyed the picnic, but it's become less multicultural over time."There are very few whites that come to the picnic," she said, noting that in the 1930s more made an effort to attend.Activities for the day include barbecuing and enjoying the potluck, running matches for children, sharing stories and family heritage and playing games."It's very important to our family I feel," Kanashibushan said.The picnic itself won't mend relations between whites and blacks, Kanashibushan said. But it's a good place to start dialogue.Kanashibushan, who was born in 1933, said racism has become more subtle over the years."It's still the same way and it's sliding backward with the economy," she said. "When the economy goes down racism goes up."Growing up and living in a predominantly white town has been challenging, she said."What's sad is I have to raise my children and grandchildren the same way my grandmother trained me -- you've got to do better and you've got to work harder,"


Post a Comment

<< Home