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Helping you discover your treasured African American & Afro Caribbean ancestry. Check out daily posts @goodgenesgenealogy on wordpress, fb, twitter and via firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out @weadwriteandgenealogy on wordpress
Thank you for your support. It’s available on our Lulu Publishing site and on Feb. 1, 2023, on all other sites.
Whenever a prayer is publicly offered in honor of our ancestors, we are honored to publish it:
|MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2023|
I GIVE THANKS FOR MY ANCESTORS
| Individually and collectively, we are part of a never-ending story. The story has no beginning and no end. |
Our Ancestors are the keepers of the stories and the secrets. Our Ancestors are reminders of the sacredness of our individual and collective lives. Their truths were passed on to us and continue to live in and through us. We can always tap in and receive the wisdom of their life experience, which is alive and well in our DNA.
I listen to the whispers of my Ancestors and the echoes of their souls. I am grateful to know that I am a part of a spiritual lineage that is anchored in divine wisdom. I am guided to do what is right and honorable. I am part of the chain of life.
The stories I inherited and tell today liberate those who come tomorrow. Thank you, Faith, in me, through me, as me, around me, through the Christ within. And so it is.
|With the elders is wisdom; and in length of days, understanding.|
A founder of the 109-year-old international Black male fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., was long “missing.” He is now found.
For serious genealogy researchers, it is a joyful and encouraging example of how customized techniques resulted in a fraternity victory and for Black genealogy research.
The absence of Charles I. Brown on earth was recorded beginning in 1924. In 1999, a small group of tenacious Sigmas, led by their “International Historian Mark “Mallet” Pacich, began a search on the whereabouts of their founder.” In 2015, the men of Phi Beta Sigma, found Brown’s body and they commenced with burying him with proper rites. Facts about his whereabouts during the missing years are still trickling into the fraternity.
“He got lost,” said Rev. William Major during a Founders Day program in metro Atlanta. “Through genealogy research … he was found. He died in 1981,” Major said.
Major’s remarks were emotionally delivered in honor of the three founders of Phi Beta Sigma during the 2023 Metro Atlanta Founders Day program that included the fraternity’s sister organization, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. The two Black Greek-Letter entities are the only ones constitutionally bound in its founding. Dr. Ann Wead Kimbrough of Good Genes Genealogy Services, Inc. is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Major and Kimbrough
Rev. William Major, left, and Dr. Ann Wead Kimbrough at their Fraternity’s and Sorority’s Founders Day observance in Decatur, GA. (Photo: Provided by Ann Wead Kimbrough)
On Jan. 9, 1914, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., Brown, along with A. Langston Taylor and Leonard F. Morse, founded Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Today, the international organization is comprised of more than 150,000 college-educated and professional men, predominantly of African American origin. Since its inception, Phi Beta Sigma has been open to men of all race, religion, class and national origin.
The fantastic search for the Phi Beta Sigma Founder Brown is well documented. What makes the search for Brown remarkable: Full use of available research resources. Flexibility and strategy are the keys to success in genealogy and ancestry research. In one blog, these words are instructive to all researchers:
THE SEARCH FOR CHARLES I. BROWN
The purpose of this blog is to gather information relating to Charles I. Brown. A most honorable founder of Phi Beta Sigma. We by no means claim a patent on the subject, nor are we seeking to upstage those who have done research prior to ours. We are willing to accept any and all help with this project. This is a plea to all brothers if you have any information, be it rumor, gossip or speculation please post it here.http://charlesibrown.blogspot.com/
That is valuable content within the search-for-Brown blog:
Founder Brown is said to have been born in Topeka, Kansas in 1890. Census records show that his father was Rev. John M. Brown and that his mother was Maggie M. Brown. However, records at Howard University from 1910 have Founder Brown living at 1813 Titan Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was very cordial and very popular with the student body and Howard University Administration. He is credited with choosing the 9 charter members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Founder Brown founded the Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, on April 9, 1917, and through oral interviews was a teacher at the Kansas Industrial School for Negroes in Topeka, Kansas.
Census records and oral interviews have showed us that Founder Brown was alive in the Topeka, Kansas area until 1931. Some believe that he was a casualty of the First World War; others believe that he moved.
While there are several aspects of Brown’s life that has not yet been fully restored, it is heartening to known that his remains were claimed by his beloved fraternity and he was given a proper memorial service. His legacy is worth reading.
Ann of the Good Genes Genealogy Services team began her interest in family genealogy at the age of 10. After asking her mother and paternal grandfather separate questions about their childhoods, siblings, families and more, Ann did not receive the replies she expected. In both cases, I could hear crickets (old schoolers will get the reference).
Yet, as a child, I could have been building the bits and pieces of information that I was able to glean from family gatherings. I was also nosey and wanted to hear the stories from the elders and cousins about what life was like for them in settings different than mine in Omaha, Nebraska. Child-friendly genealogy chart builders like the free ones featured on the National Archives sites are a great start for the young people.
Check out the other freebie from the National Archives. It’s a fresh look in the genealogy tree building exercises.
Camden, Tenn. – About 340 miles northwest of Atlanta, lies a small community with a big heart that was originally named “Tranquility.” The community counted as one of its more than 3,000 residents a special lady, Delia Mae Tharpe, mother of Dr. Jack L. Bomar, Executive Bishop/Senior Pastor of Atlanta’s Hillside International Truth Center.
Ms. Delia, as many called her, was funeralized on the third Saturday of January admist a mountainous cool afternoon. It would have been an ordinary “homegoing” service, except Ms. Delia was anything but ordinary. Her extraordinary life on earth for 81 years is one for the history books. I barely knew Ms. Delia, meeting her perhaps once. Yet, nearly 55 persons, including my mother, Angeline Wead and me, traveled five hours each way to share with hundreds of others to celebrate the life of this lady.
What caused us to travel early on Saturday morning and return late that evening, is what I will share later in this blog.
Delia Mae Tharpe, September 28, 1941 – January 14, 2023
Just one day earlier, was the funeral for my maternal cousin, M. Madeline Wilks Matthews, who I’ve known all of my life. Her service took place in St. Louis, Missouri. My mother was the eldest cousin to Madeline. I was asked to write her obituary, which was delivered to her church secretary with all the love and care that I could deliver. Madeline was a bright light who was on this earth 93 years.
Margaret Madeline Wilks Matthews, Aug. 30, 1929 – January 7, 2023
The lives of Madeline and Ms. Delia were different and yet there were a few similarities. Both ladies lived full lives, sang in their church choirs, held many positions in church leadership, and each worked more than four decades in their respective fields. Madeline did not have children; while Ms. Delia bore nine children and had many grandchildren. Madeline was active in politics and in her retirement years, she gained additional education and served as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional in special education.
In short, I am proud of Madeline’s accomplishments that began in her college prep Omaha Central High School years where she excelled in academics, music, other creative endeavors, and as student government leader. As a young high school graduate, she was denied employment in her hometown because she was Black. That’s why she ventured south of Nebraska to Missouri where she lived the next nearly 80 years and endured the sadly typical ups and downs of trailblazing, independent thinking and working women.
Ms. Delia’s life couldn’t have been easy by usual, societal measures. She was a “dedicated and hard worker for more than forty-three years at Henry I. Siegel, ‘the H.I.S. factory’ in Bruceton, TN as a press operator,” according to her obituary. She bore nine children and raised them in humble conditions with such love, leadership and purpose as shared with laughter, sympathy tears and memorable message.
Her life was inspiring as experienced by hundreds in the near standing room-only chapel where the roomful of upright flower displays served as fragrant reminders of the depth of her influence in this hamlet of about 3,000 residents within 5.7 square miles of the Tennessee hills.
So impactful was Ms. Delia’s life that a young lady who was seated behind me said that she attended the service even though she lived in the area, yet did not know Ms. Delia “that well.” Eula Eikerenkoetter, widow of the late, popular minister, “Rev. Ike,” was there. So were several messages of condolences in the form of proclamations and recognitions that included many Atlanta City Councilmembers.
A guide for genealogy researchers
Family genealogists can learn many lessons from our new ancestors while honoring their time on this earth and their vibrant spirits. The obituaries, the services are the beginning of sharing the legacies of the families. Usually, many blanks are filled in that often break through the typical brick walls found in Black ancestry pursuits.
One of the best, free worksheets to conquer brick walls in Black genealogy searches is found in the easy-to-access and free databases of the National Archives.
This worksheet is different from the family tree form that was recommended on this site via our post on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. Both forms — the family tree and individual family worksheets — provide a great start to the New Year.
The worksheet is a big help.
The beginning of 2023 is a great time to utilize the free genealogy resources from the National Archives. It is the family group sheet and ancestral chart.
First in a series
Jihan Hurse, guide, Atlanta, GA.’s Oakland Cemetery’s “Black Magnolias” tour
Atlanta, GA — On a chilly Saturday winter morning, Oakland Cemetery’s “Black Magnolias” Tour Guide and Author Jihan Hurse, excitedly gives highlights of the Black women who lie among its 70,000 “residents” in the city’s historic cemetery.
The hour allotted for the tour was not enough time for all of the stories about accomplished Black women who are buried in Oakland Cemetery. Yet, the Black Magnolias tour was a refreshing collection of insight into the lives of Black women who were quiet and major influencers in the Atlanta region, Georgia and nationwide. Along the multiple paths laden mostly with bricks from days gone by, there were periodic stops at the chosen grave sites of many women who were doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, mothers, wives, educators and skilled technicians.
The Black Magnolias story at Oakland Center is grounded in the fortitude of laundry or washerwomen whose citywide protest resulted in violence, arrests, intimidation and ultimately, a major victory for the Black women who refused to return to work unless their financial and work life demands were met. Their well-organized strike involved some 3,000 Black laundresses and it nearly imperiled the 1881 World’s Fair in Atlanta.
Former slaves strike for better pay and work conditions in 1881.
While praising the domestic workers’ brave and labor market altering stance, Hurse strategically showcased other Black women whose legacies are integral to the success of the Atlanta area, Georgia and the nation. Despite the achievements that stretch beyond racial and geographical boundaries, most of the 12,000 African Americans — including approximately 1,800 slaves — are buried at Oakland in segregated sections known as the African American, Slave and Potters sections.
There are also exceptions to the burial rules of segregating whites, Blacks and Jewish deceased persons from one another. When whites sought permissions to move the burial area initially designated for Black slaves, the graves were moved to the back of the cemetery. Some natural markers such as stones and sticks were not preserved. When that relocation was completed, some families such as the Boylstons asked for an additional set of permissions and that was to bury their “domestic worker,” Catherine Holmes, alongside their family members, according to Hurse. Elise Boylston had a special fondness for “Caty” and the young Boylston lady authored work that included her slave. By the 1960s, Blacks were not segregated to one area or two areas of the cemetery
The grave marker for “Caty” Holmes, a “domestic worker” in the Boylston household, is left. This is a partial view of the extensive Boylston plot in the former Slave section of Oakland Cemetery.
A dozen other Black Magnolias were pointed out by Hurse as significant based on a range of qualities such as the first Black lady buried in Oakland Cemetery, to the sisters who established the first hospital with 15 beds that was available to Black patients.
Below is the grave site of Estella Henderson was an attorney, an author of books on race relations and was recognized by U.S. President William Howard Taft. Her sister, Dr. Blanche Beatrice Bowman Thompson, was a doctor whose practice pioneered specialty work for Black medical professionals in Georgia.
Future blogs will highlight the historical women of Oakland Cemetery. For those interested in the many stories of the Black men and women buried in Oakland Cemetery, the virtual tour is found through this service:
Good Genes Genealogy Services encourages readers of this blog to investigate similar historical stories in cemeteries that bear great stories such as those found at the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.
The 48-acre cemetery that is also considered a city park. The Oakland Cemetery Foundation conducts several tours each year, including a handful devoted to honoring Black history and women’s history.
Black Homesteaders of the South with Bernice A. Bennett
|On Saturday, February 4, 2023, 12 – 1:30 PM, the African American History and Culture Museum will host its African American History and Culture Event.|
It will be held on the Concourse, Oprah Winfrey Theater + streaming
It’s free. It’s also recommended that you get tickets or register at www.etix.com.
Join genealogist Bernice A. Bennett who will uncover the stories of African American families who became landowners through the Homestead Act of 1862 from her latest book Black Homesteaders of the South. Bennett’s work is a modern story of black genealogists who networked through a Facebook page to trace the footsteps of their ancestors in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana & Mississippi. Find out how these families navigated the application process through the federal government, and what this legacy means for their descendants today.
Bernice Alexander Bennett is an award-winning author, genealogist and host of Research at the National Archives & Beyond BlogTalkRadio program. Her genealogical interests focus on Southeast Louisiana and Edgefield and Greenwood Counties, South Carolina. Bennett is an author and contributor to 2 award winning genealogy books including Our Ancestors, Our Stories and Tracing Their Steps: A Memoir. A New Orleans native, Bennett is a volunteer with the Homestead National Historical Park Service identifying descendants of Black homesteaders to share their stories.
First Kwanzaa December 26, 1966,Photo donated to BBC by Terri Bandele, pictured on right.
“What do the Africans do?” That is the question asked by a then-young girl, 11-year-old Terri Bandele, who was among the first families celebrating the first Kwanzaa celebration from Dec. 26, 1966 – Jan. 1, 1967. Her question and the organized determination of Dr. Maulana Karenga, Bandele’s parents and others, led to the creation of Kwanzaa, the pan-African and African American holiday that honors the “matunda ya kwanza” that means “first fruits” in Swahili.
Kwanzaa arrives December 26th — the day after the traditional Christmas Day — and culminates January 1st. It does not compete or replace any holiday, according to Dr. Karenga and many organizers. Nor does it compete with a longstanding January 1st celebration for U.S. Blacks and that is Jubilee Day.
Central to Kwanzaa’s purpose is its celebration among family, friends and communities. Today, millions celebrate Kwanzaa and its seven strong principles:
At Atlanta’s Hillside International Truth Center, Executive Bishop/Senior Pastor, Dr. Jack Bomar, led the church celebration on Jan. 1, 2023, in honor of Kwanzaa’s final day. “We are gathered to celebrate our heritage and honor the spirit our ancestors,” said Bomar while pointing out the symbolic “first fruits” placed on the tables in the church’s smaller chapel. The King Chapel as it is known in honor of the church’s founder, Dr. Barbara Lewis King, was filled to capacity.
Jubilee Day. It began as a tradition of celebration on New Year’s Day 1863.
The U.S. Government produced a booklet in December 1862 and it was ordered to be distributed by Union Soldiers to Blacks. It speaks of slavery as the “cornerstone” of tragedy.
Nearly two centuries ago, the historical depiction showcases the “jubilee” former slaves felt after their freedom was granted through the presidential act.
Today, church ceremonies such as the NAACP and Roaoke, Virginia community hold a commemorative service in honor of Jubilee Day.