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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Ariela Gross Litigating Identity and Citizens

Hello Louis and Richard:

Thank you for your remarks. Yes Louis, I recognized your name and query from Alva's Caribbean Forum.

You wrote "Thank you again for being a voice of reason on this web site. Given the migration/immigration of many FPC families in the Southern US, and use of Anglo-Saxon names, it is nearly impossible to understand our exact orgins. Therefore, I would recommend that we keep an open-mind with oral histories as jumping off points for additional research."

My "voice of reason" was shaped by the incredible family historians and scholars who post their research on AfriGeneas. When AfriGeneas first started The Free Persons of Color Forum, I posted a message asking "Who were the Free People of Color?" The early responses focused on the people of the Lower South and then expanded to People of Color throughout the Americas. Under the stewardship of Paul Heinegg, this forum resonates with unique histories found only on AfriGeneas.

I continually have to remind myself that Free People of Color were not always of mixed heritage, but Africans who gained their freedom or were free when they reached the Americas. I'm thinking of Prince Witten, an African profiled by Dr. Jane Landers in her book, "Black Society in Spanish Florida."

There were no waving rows of cotton and tobacco in the Gulf South of my ancestors, nor were there plantations in the experience of the Black Whalers of the Pacific, the Blacks in the American West, the black pearl divers in the Caribbean or the black Canadians of Nova Scotia. Recently I read that Francisco Antonio Encina wrote that 13 percent of the explorers that came to Chile with Diego de Almagro were black.

As for researchers with personal agendas...Let it (them) go. I think we all have been challenged about our research. If our research is incontrovertible, then we must go on and find scholarship that supports our point of view.

Good Luck with your research.

K Wyer Lane


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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