It’s here: November 2021 Good Genes Genealogy’s Family Ties that Bind

Thank you, one and all, for encouraging us to continue publishing our monthly e-books. The latest one is just published on our Lulu Publishing website … soon it will be available on worldwide distribution. Get your copy now!

#55 Spooky stories, haunted houses and Black people

Ancestor Comedian Richard Pryor had a funny bit about Black people in horror movies. He said that Black people would enter a haunted house and hear a ghostly voice say, “hello.” Pryor said the likely answer would be “goodbye.”

Pryor’s funny gag lines were prior to the current-day horror films where Black actors are among the headliners.

In honor of Pryor, here’s a haunted story in recognition of Halloween.

#54 Check out views on “makeup” pay, respect for women

Gwen McKinney is a podcaster, writer and thinker. Check out her podcast (see it in her own words/voice) and join the conversation. FYI: German Holocaust survivors in the U.S. and abroad, receive regular reparations from that government. Also, South Africa, Canada, Austria and France provide financial restorative justice.

From Gwen:

Proud to share our latest podcast, Reparations: Beyond Acres and the Mule.  Along with the policy implications, reparations comes with the human saga.  We feature scholar/historian/civil rights champion Mary Frances Berry who shares the story of Callie House, a formerly enslaved washer woman who struck the first blow for repatriation and repair as the little-known mother of the reparations movement. We also give voice to a multigenerational chorus of sister warriors including Rosemarie Mealy, Nkechi Taifa, Robin Rue and Dreisen Heath.  True to our mission, the podcast advances narratives that unerase the truths of Black women, often maligned and marginalized in both the historical and contemporary record.  Please take a listen HERE from our website or visit whatever streaming service you prefer for Unerased Kitchen Table Talks.

We’d be thrilled if you’re so moved to help us amplify this episode.  I suggest the following tweets:

1. How can you measure the damage from 4 centuries of bondage and soul pillage? In the latest @UnerasedBWS podcast episode, we explore the human toll of reparations. Tune in, subscribe, share!

2. Will we see reparations come to fruition? Meet advocates from the National African American Reparations Commission leading the way to institute federal reparations laws in the latest @UnerasedBWS podcast episode. Tune in, subscribe, share!

With praise and appreciation!


Gwen McKinney | Creator & Campaign Director
Stoking passions. Telling stories. Making change.p:(202) 841-3522a:McKinney & Associates1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC  e:

#52 Let the church say, “Amen” to Negro Spirituals

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    During slavery and afterwards, workers were allowed to sing songs during their working time. This was the case when they had to coordinate their efforts for hauling a fallen tree or any heavy load. For example, prisoners used to sing “chain gang” songs, when they worked on the road or some construction. But some “drivers” also allowed slaves to sing “quiet” songs, if they were not apparently against slaveholders. Such songs could be sung either by only one or by several slaves. They were used for expressing personal feeling, and for cheering one another.
    The Underground Railroad (UGRR) helped slaves to run to free a country. A fugitive could use several ways. First, they had to walk at night, using hand lights and moonlight. When needed, they walked (“waded”) in water, so that dogs could not smell their tracks. Second, they jumped into chariot, where they could hide and ride away. These chariots stopped at some “stations”, but this word could mean any place where slaves had to go for being taken in charge.So, negro spirituals like “Wade in the Water”, “The Gospel Train” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” directly refer to the UGRR.

    #51 Take your ancestors out to the ball game: Black baseball since 1858

    It’s October and that means baseball is in full swing. Do you know how many of your ancestors were a part of Black Baseball stardom? Since 1858, the game of baseball has featured sluggers, great pitchers, fielders and speedsters who have defied the odds and have mostly gone unnoticed.

    Let’s dust off the ancestral home plates and locate your family members who were the stars on playing fields long forgotten or never researched. Start with the year 1858.

    #50 Freebie Friday: Historian Carter G. Woodson’s report on Free Negroes

    In 1925, Historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson published a report that he stated was expensive to publish and difficult to compile. Yet, he did it.

    “The aim of this report, like that on Free Negro Owners of Slaves in the
    United States in 1830, is to promote the further study of a neglected aspect
    of our history. As stated elsewhere, most of these free Negroes “have
    been forgotten, for persons supposedly well-informed in history are surprised to learn today that about a half million, almost one-seventh of the
    Negroes of this country, were free prior to the emancipation in 1865. It is
    hardly believed that a considerable number of Negroes were owners of
    slaves themselves, and in some cases controlled large plantations.”

    As the second Black man to receive a degree from Harvard University, he also became a dean in the school. He was a journalist and well published author, including the historic, standalone read, The Mis-education of the Negro.

    Read the report by clicking on the link and downloading the 50+ page document derived from the 1830 U.S. Census. You may find your ancestors in the records.

    Enjoy your Freebie Friday!

    #49 Begin your ancestry research — at home

    I (Ann) moved back to the Atlanta area in the first months of 2020. You know the rest: The COVID-19 restrictions started and it limited my reconnections and great adventures to my favorite places with the best folk.

    It’s time.

    Although the health and safety precautions must be adhered to, my first local museum visit will be APEX.

    If you are in D.C., it should be the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

    In my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, please visit, Great Plains Black History Museum.

    In the few museums listed above, strong advocates brought them into existence. My friend, Dan Moore, is the champion of the APEX Museum. Bertha Callaway is the proactive instigator of the Great Plains Museum.

    To help you get to your local destination, this wikisite is helpful. If you need to add content site, please provide information so that others may benefit:

    List of African American-themed museums

    This is a sortable table. Click on the column you wish it sorted by.

    A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter MuseumChicagoIllinois1995]
    Africa Center, TheNew York City (Manhattan)New York1984[9][a]
    African American Civil War Memorial MuseumWashingtonD.C.1999[13]
    African-American Research Library and Cultural CenterFort LauderdaleFlorida2002[14]
    African American Firefighter MuseumLos AngelesCalifornia1997[15]
    African American Military History MuseumHattiesburgMississippi2000[16]
    African American Multicultural MuseumScottsdaleArizona2005[17]
    African American MuseumDallasTexas1974[18]
    African American Museum and Library at OaklandOaklandCalifornia1994[19]
    African American Museum in Cleveland, TheClevelandOhio1956[20]
    African American Museum in PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaPennsylvania1976[21]
    African American Museum of IowaCedar RapidsIowa2003[22]
    African American Museum of Nassau CountyHempsteadNew York1970[23]
    African American Museum of the ArtsDeLandFlorida1994[24]
    African American Museum of Southern IllinoisCarbondaleIllinois1997[25]
    Afro-American Historical and Cultural Society MuseumJersey CityNew Jersey1984[26]
    Alabama State Black Archives Research Center and MuseumHuntsvilleAlabama1990[27]
    Alexandria Black History MuseumAlexandriaVirginia1987[28][b]
    America’s Black Holocaust MuseumMilwaukeeWisconsin1988[29]
    Anacostia MuseumWashingtonD.C.1967[30]
    Anne Spencer House and Garden MuseumLynchburgVirginia1977[31]
    APEX (African American Panoramic Experience) MuseumAtlantaGeorgia1978[32]
    Armstead T. Johnson High SchoolMontrossVirginia2000[33]
    Backstreet Cultural MuseumNew OrleansLouisiana1999[34]
    Banneker-Douglass MuseumAnnapolisMaryland1984[35]
    Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and MuseumOellaMaryland1998[36]
    Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural MuseumSenecaSouth Carolina2015[37]
    Birmingham Civil Rights InstituteBirminghamAlabama1992[38]
    Black American West Museum & Heritage CenterDenverColorado1971[39]
    Black Cowboy MuseumRosenbergTexas2017[40]
    Black History 101 Mobile MuseumDetroitMichigan1995[41]
    Black History Museum and Cultural Center of VirginiaRichmondVirginia1988[42]
    Blanchard House MuseumPunta GordaFlorida2004[43]
    Bontemps African American MuseumAlexandriaLouisiana1988[44]
    Booker T. Washington National MonumentHardyVirginia1956Brazos Valley African American MuseumBryanTexas2006[45]
    Bronzeville Children’s MuseumChicagoIllinois1998[46]
    Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumHoustonTexas2000[47]
    California African American MuseumLos AngelesCalifornia1981[48]
    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American HistoryDetroitMichigan1965[49]
    Charlotte Hawkins Brown MuseumSedaliaNorth Carolina1987[50]
    Clemson Area African American MuseumClemsonSouth Carolina2010[51]
    Delta Cultural CenterHelenaArkansas1991[52]
    Destination CrenshawLos AngelesCalifornia2019[53]
    Dorchester Academy and MuseumMidwayGeorgia2004[54]
    Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History MuseumSt. PetersburgFlorida2006[55]
    DuSable Museum of African American HistoryChicagoIllinois1960[20]
    Eddie Mae Herron Center and MuseumPocahontasArkansas2001[56]
    Ely Educational MuseumPompano BeachFlorida2000[57]
    Evansville African American MuseumEvansvilleIndiana2007[58]
    Finding Our Roots African American MuseumHoumaLouisiana2017[59]
    Frederick Douglass National Historic SiteWashingtonD.C.1962[60]
    Freedom House MuseumAlexandriaVirginia2008[61]
    Freedom Rides MuseumMontgomeryAlabama1962[62]
    George Washington Carver Museum, TheTuskegeeAlabama1941[63]
    George Washington Carver MuseumPhoenixArizona1980[64]
    George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural CenterAustinTexas1980[65]
    George Washington Carver National MonumentNewton CountyMissouri1960[66]
    Great Blacks in Wax MuseumBaltimoreMaryland1983[67]
    Great Plains Black History MuseumOmahaNebraska1975[68]
    Griot Museum of Black History, TheSt. LouisMissouri1997[69]
    Hammonds House MuseumAtlantaGeorgia1988[70]
    Hampton University MuseumHamptonVirginia1988[71]
    Harriet Tubman MuseumCape MayNew Jersey2020[72]
    Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor CenterChurch CreekMaryland2017[73]
    Harvey B. Gantt CenterCharlotteNorth Carolina1974[74]
    Henderson Institute Historical MuseumHendersonNorth Carolina1986[75]
    Howard County Center of African American CultureColumbiaMaryland1987[76]
    Idaho Black History MuseumBoiseIdaho1995[77]
    International African American MuseumCharlestonSouth Carolina2019 (anticipated)[78]
    International Civil Rights Center and MuseumGreensboroNorth Carolina2010[79]
    Jacob Fontaine Religious MuseumAustinTexas2004[80]
    Jim Crow Museum of Racist MemorabiliaBig RapidsMichigan1996[81]
    John Johnson HousePhiladelphiaPennsylvania1997[82]
    John E. Rogers African American Cultural CenterHartfordConnecticut1991[83]
    John G. Riley Center/Museum of African American History and CultureTallahasseeFlorida1996[84]
    Josephine School Community MuseumBerryvilleVirginia2003[85]
    Kansas African-American MuseumWichitaKansas1997[86]
    L.E. Coleman African-American MuseumHalifax County, VirginiaVirginia2005[87]
    LaVilla MuseumJacksonvilleFlorida1999[88]
    Legacy Museum, TheMontgomeryAlabama2018[89]
    Legacy Museum of African American HistoryLynchburgVirginia2000[90]
    Lewis H. Latimer HouseNew York City (Queens)New York2004[91]
    Lincolnville Museum and Cultural CenterSt. AugustineFlorida2005[92]
    Louis Armstrong HouseNew York City (Queens)New York2003[93]
    Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site Visitors CenterAtlantaGeorgia1996[94]
    Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic SiteWashingtonD.C.1979[95]
    Mary McLeod Bethune HomeDaytona BeachFlorida1956[96][c]
    Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage MuseumNew Smyrna BeachFlorida1999[97]
    Mayme A. Clayton Library and MuseumCulver CityCalifornia2010[98]
    McLemore House African-American MuseumFranklinTennessee2002[99]
    Mississippi Civil Rights MuseumJacksonMississippi2017[100][101]
    MoCADANew York City (Brooklyn)New York1999[102]
    Mosaic Templars Cultural CenterLittle RockArkansas2008[103]
    Muhammad Ali CenterLouisvilleKentucky2005[104]
    Museum of African American History & Abiel Smith SchoolBostonMassachusetts1964[105]
    Museum of the African DiasporaSan FranciscoCalifornia2005[106]
    Nash House MuseumBuffaloNew York2003[107]
    Natchez Museum of African American History and CultureNatchezMississippi1991[108]
    National African American Archives and MuseumMobileAlabama1992[citation needed]
    National Afro-American Museum and Cultural CenterWilberforceOhio1987[109]
    National Center for Civil and Human RightsAtlantaGeorgia2014[100]
    National Center of Afro-American ArtistsRoxburyMassachusetts1969[110]
    National Civil Rights MuseumMemphisTennessee1991[111]
    National Museum of African American History and CultureWashingtonD.C.2016[112]
    National Museum of African American MusicNashvilleTennessee2013[d]
    National Underground Railroad Freedom CenterCincinnatiOhio2004[114]
    National Voting Rights MuseumSelmaAlabama1991[115]
    Negro Leagues Baseball MuseumKansas CityMissouri1990[116]
    New Orleans African American MuseumNew OrleansLouisiana1988[117]
    Newsome House Museum and Cultural CenterNewport NewsVirginia1991[118]
    Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage CenterNiagara FallsNew York2018[119]
    Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage MuseumMonroeLouisiana1994[120]
    Northwest African American MuseumSeattleWashington2008[121]
    Odell S. Williams Now And Then African-American MuseumBaton RougeLouisiana2001[122]
    Old Dillard MuseumFort LauderdaleFlorida1995[123]
    Omenala Griot Afrocentric Teaching MuseumAtlantaGeorgia1992[124]
    Oran Z’s Black Facts and Wax MuseumLos AngelesCalifornia2000[125]
    Paul R. Jones Collection of African American ArtNewarkDelaware2004[126]
    Philadelphia Doll MuseumPhiladelphiaPennsylvania1988[127]
    Poindexter Village Museum and Cultural CenterColumbusOhioPlanned[128]
    Pope House MuseumRaleighNorth Carolina2011[129]
    Portsmouth Colored Community Library MuseumPortsmouthVirginia2013[130]
    Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural CenterNorth BrentwoodMaryland2010[131]
    Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights MuseumSavannahGeorgia1996[132]
    Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & CultureBaltimoreMaryland2005[133]
    River Road African American MuseumDonaldsonvilleLouisiana1994[134]
    Rosa Parks MuseumMontgomeryAlabama2000[135]
    Rural African American MuseumOpelousasLouisiana2018[136]
    Sandy Ground Historical MuseumNew York City (Staten Island)New York1994[137]
    Scott Joplin House State Historic SiteSt. LouisMissouri1983Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural CenterScottsboroAlabama2010[138]
    Slave Haven Underground Railroad MuseumMemphisTennessee1997[139]
    Slave Mart MuseumCharlestonSouth Carolina1938[140]
    Smith-Robertson Museum and Cultural CenterJacksonMississippi1984[141]
    Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and MuseumTallahasseeFlorida1976[142]
    Spady Cultural Heritage MuseumDelray BeachFlorida2001[143]
    Spelman College Museum of Fine ArtAtlantaGeorgia1996[144]
    Springfield and Central Illinois African-American History MuseumSpringfieldIllinois2012[145]
    Studio Museum in HarlemNew York City (Manhattan)New York1968[146]
    Swift MuseumRogersvilleTennessee2008[147]
    Tangipahoa African American Heritage MuseumHammondLouisiana2005[citation needed]
    Taylor House Museum of Historic FrenchtownTallahasseeFlorida2011[148]
    Tubman African American MuseumMaconGeorgia1981[149]
    Tuskegee Airmen National Historic SiteTuskegeeAlabama2008[150]
    Tuskegee Airmen National MuseumDetroitMichigan1987[151]
    Underground Railroad Museum at Belmont MansionPhiladelphiaPennsylvania2007[152]
    Weeksville Heritage CenterNew York City (Brooklyn)New York2005[153]
    Wells’ Built MuseumOrlandoFlorida2001[154]
    Whitney PlantationSt. John the Baptist ParishLouisiana2014[155]
    Willam V. Banks Broadcast MuseumDetroitMichigan2017[156]
    Zion Union Heritage MuseumHyannisMassachusetts2008[157]
    Zora Neale Hurston Museum of Fine ArtsEatonvilleFlorida2017[158]

    #48 How to write tributes to ancestors and find the pros who can help

    The hundreds and perhaps thousands of special salutes to our favorite and newest ancestor, former U.S. Secretary of State and General Colin Powell, is a collective valuable lesson for all who write about our ancestors’ lives.

    3 P’s for producing great obituaries

    On many occasions, I (Ann) have been designated to write obituaries about my family, friends and even former work colleagues. Obituary writing is a skill and talent. It is not the time for careless regards of facts. There are professional obituary writers whose purpose is to provide professionalism to the sometimes rough passages we often read in programs and on websites during times of bereavement.

    My “P’s”( for obituary writing:

    • Plan the obituaries before the relative’s or friend’s transition(s). This seems morbid, yet it is a practice that learned and demonstrated in my first journalism course taught by Nellie Dixon at Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University). I followed the same practice when I became a journalism instructor. Professional media outlets assign reporters to write obituaries about famous persons before the deaths of those individuals. It may seem sad to some to realize this occurs, yet it does.
    • Prepare your loved ones’ obituaries. As part of the planning and preparation, if possible, record, photograph and speak about your relative, friend during their active lives. I know of a professional videographer who recorded his favorite aunt. That recording on his mobile device is part of the obituary and legacy moments for the family.
    • Produce the content. Organize all materials according to themes that emerge from their lives. Write your first draft.
    Seek help from those who know

    When the inevitable occurs, you are ready with the necessary information. It is best to listen to family and friends who send virtual messages or whose personal visits include conversations about the deceased person(s). You may hear something that adds a new name or important life event about the loved one(s).

    You may also wish to enlist the assistance of a professional such as my friend, Dr. Tony Burks.

    Supes Academy Nov. 15-16 in Chicago, Ill. (Photo by Taylor Glascock)

    Tony Lamair Burks II

    Dr. Tony Lamair Burks II first learned the art and craft of storytelling from his four grandparents in lower Alabama. He is an award-winning education expert who coaches and trains leaders for excellence as chief learning officer of LEADright. His stories about school and life have appeared in newspapers, blogs and books around the world. He has written six books and contributed to four. He is passionate about helping others tell their stories. For over a quarter of a century, he has written, co-written and ghost-written obituaries and funeral orations. He has served as the interim director of a publishing house, and he currently leads a series of interactive workshops — Unleashing Your Untold Healing Story​ and ​Writing Your Story​ — to help others unearth and release stories that have been held deep within.

    Writing tips from other pros

    How to Write a Great Obituary
    • Announce the death. Start off the obituary by announcing the death of the loved one. ..
    • Provide general biographical information. Include some biographical information such as birth date, upbringing, education, marriage information, accomplishments, and work history.
    • Make it personal. To write a great obituary, it’s important to capture the spirit of the loved one who has passed.
    • Listing the family members. While you don’t have to mention every nephew and cousin by name, it’s important to write a general overview of the family members who passed away.
    • Funeral information. Provide the date, time, and location of the funeral. Also include information regarding donations, flowers, or condolences.
    • Review for mistakes. Check, check, and check again. Once you are satisfied with the finished product, pass it off to a friend or a dispassionate third party for review.


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