Africatown project locates graves of ex-slaves who survived 1859 shipwreck

A Virginia archaeologist is using modern technology to locate and mark gravesites in the older half of Old Plateau Cemetery. The cemetery is at Bay Bridge Road and Cut-Off Road, near the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge. Often known as Africatown Cemetery, it is the final resting place for Cudjoe Lewis and 109 other surviving African slaves from the slave ship Clotilde. On a Sunday in July 1859, the Clotilde, also known as the Clotilda, struck a sandbar the Mobile River. The federal government had outlawed slave importations since 1808, but slavery still was legal in Southern states. The … [Read more...]

Decatur genealogy museum traces African-American roots

Evelyn Hood of Decatur began researching her family history some years ago, realizing how hard it is for African-Americans because landowners usually did not include surnames of their slaves in their records. Surnames would tell people their tribes. That families were divided at auction provides another hindrance. “I was having a difficult time,” Hood says. “I had to educate myself about genealogy and African-American history.” Out of her experience, in August 1993 Hood created the African-American Cultural and Genealogical Society of Illinois Museum in downtown Decatur. Read More … [Read more...]

Witherspoon-Jackson Genealogy Group Looks Forward to Filling in the Gaps

“We know all about Betsy Stockton,” observed Princeton Public Library’s Terri Nelson recently, speaking of the Princeton slave who become the first female missionary of color to go to Hawaii in 1832. “But no one knows about Cecelia Van Tyne, another former slave, who went to Setra Kroo, Africa as a missionary in 1841.” Both women came home to educate Princeton’s African American children, but Ms. Stockton is the one memorialized with a stained glass window at the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church. Lacunae like these in the history of Princeton’s African-American community will … [Read more...]

PBS Explores African-American Contributions to History and Society

An Impressive Array of New and Encore Programming Before and During Black History Month ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Throughout the year, PBS invites viewers to explore the vast contributions of African Americans. In honor and celebration of Black History Month, February 2010, PBS presents new and encore programs, beginning in January and continuing through February. 2010 brings a new primetime series hosted by Tavis Smiley. On Wednesday, January 27, TAVIS SMILEY REPORTS accompanies Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on diplomatic missions and goes behind the scenes … [Read more...]

The Resting Tree: An ancient tree shades slave cemetery

They say an old slave called Uncle Rube resembled Moses as he carried a tiny boy’s lifeless body to his favorite tree, where an open grave waited. It was March 1798 when little Crippled Dan’s grave became the first in the largest known slave cemetery in the region. More than 210 years later, it lies along the western fringe of Sugar Hollow Park, about 15 yards from orange plastic fencing marking the path of a new road under construction. Crippled Dan was born five years earlier with feet so deformed he never walked, said local historian V.N. “Bud” Phillips. Dan’s parents were slaves on … [Read more...]