Archives for May 2009

A Crumbling Piece of History

WHENEVER a heavy storm rips through this coastal city, Mary Witkowski, a local historian, immediately has the same worrisome thought: “Are they still standing?” So far, she has been both amazed and relieved to find that the two rickety structures known as the Freeman houses have indeed survived on their adjacent 161-year-old foundations. Thought to be the state’s oldest remaining houses built by African-Americans, the boarded-up homes are the only remnants of a south-end community of free blacks and runaway slaves who thrived here before the Civil War. Read More … [Read more...]

After 200 years, 3 slaves get a final resting place

The 200-year-old remains of three black slaves from Sussex County were reburied Thursday afternoon in a small graveside ceremony in Newton after being stored at Space Farms Zoo and Museum for 30 years. The three men, named Tom, Dan and John, were discovered in the 1970s when the land, once owned by Henry Simson Sr., was being developed. Read More … [Read more...]

DNA research finally confirms ‘Roots’ author’s ties to Alabama

Author Alex Palmer Haley knew he had roots in northwest Alabama, he just couldn’t prove it. He had only an oral history passed down through generations of his family and a family legend that a plantation overseer in Marion County was the father of slave Alec Haley, Alex Haley’s grandfather. Chris Haley, the son of Alex Haley’s brother Julius, may now have lent truth to the story, simply by swabbing cells from his cheek. Read More … [Read more...]

Blacks and the Confederacy: an incomplete story

It's estimated that between 60,000 and 93,000 blacks served the Confederate military "in some capacity." Many, no doubt, were "body servants" who went to war with their masters. Officially, blacks were prohibited from enlisting in the Confederate army until March 23, 1865, when an order came that slaves could be armed to fight to earn their freedom. Read More … [Read more...]

Finding their voice

A new group has formed for Bermudians wishing to embrace their Native American roots. The St. David's Islanders and Native Community was created for Bermudians with heritage in any Native American nation or tribe. Read More … [Read more...]

Families research African-American Confederates

Historians such as Earl Ijames have learned that very little about the Civil War was black and white, even when it came to the hues of the soldiers' skin. Ijames, a curator at the N.C. Museum of History and a former staffer in the state Office of Archives and History, has become something of an expert on a group of black soldiers many people don't know -- or don't want to know -- existed. Read More … [Read more...]

Is Your “Cherokee” Ancestry Actually African-American?

In his landmark manifesto Custer Died for your Sins, American-Indian activist Vine Deloria notes an increasingly popular phenomenon: people of white ancestry claiming to be Native American-- usually matrilineal, and usually Cherokee. We have all seen this bizarre trend, and many families unknowingly participate in it. Read More … [Read more...]

The Bahamas DNA Project

Are the Long Island Deans in the Bahamas descended from the Queen of Sheba? Do the Sweetings of Green Turtle Cay trace their heritage to a Roman soldier? Are the Eleuthera Neely's related to the tall "blue men" of the Sahara? These and other fascinating questions are now being answered by the Bahamas DNA Project, which is slowly filling in the gaps of Bahamian family history. Whether black, white or in-between, if you have ever wondered who your ancestors were, this research will lead you to them. Read More … [Read more...]