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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

A GRIOT IN EVERY FAMILY

Remember that word? Griot...that was the person especially in African villages, the person who talked about the people and villages from the beginnings, etc. There I was as a youngster, you know doing my thing as a kid...then practically on most evenings, or whenever the mood hit, my mother always seemed to have this favorite little place in the kitchen. It was at a small table. There she did one of two things before we had conversation. It was either her slopping some homemade biscuits in some molasses or some gravy, or at times when she had the urge to dip some of her favorite Tube Rose Snuff. Make a long story short, she got real comfortable like, and suddenly it would come to mind about some member of the family, something about her favorite brother whom she remembers as having a dream about just before he got killed in Cincinnati,Ohio; or she would talk about how her father used to work as a carpenter, doing jobs for white folks. Most of the time she never really mentioned much about the years, but you could gather it was during the times she grew up. For a long time I would sit there, I would listen, had no idea what or why she was talking this stuff. Not until it hit me that I had better start some kind of research into the House family tree. I never knew what a griot was until I came across Alex Haley's book Roots in which he talked about this guy who knew about everybody. My mother died in 1971, about a year I started a small part of the family research. I put it down for sometime; we had our reunions, and each time we had our reunions I found myself having to tell the story of our family and what I had came across. Today, I am still researching. I do not have all of the stuff together, but I am working on it. Sure wish I had a computer back in 1971, maybe things would have been different. Maybe then everyone would have still been living. This is why I say there is a griot in every family. Joseph


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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