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AfriGeneas News & Announcements
June 2004

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Lloyd Smith Eulogized in Washington Post Editorial

washingtonpost.com > Opinion > Editorials

Lloyd David Smith

Sunday, June 27, 2004; Page B06

HE DIDN'T SEEK headlines and wasn't all that well known in much of this city, yet Lloyd D. Smith made memorable differences in the lives of countless residents in the "forgotten Washington" neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. Mr. Smith, who died June 15 of injuries suffered in a fall, was fondly known by lifelong neighbors as the mayor of Marshall Heights. It is there that he resurrected a dead shopping center, mobilized homeowners and others into a respected economic partnership and put hard-cash meaning into the words "community empowerment." more . . .

Source: Washington Post Editorial: Lloyd David Smith

Posted by Staff on 6/27/04 at 1:35 pm EST

Sunday, June 20, 2004

AFRIGENEAS AUTHORS: Lisa B. Lee Talks About Writing Skin Deep

For the past few months, Lisa Lee has been traveling the country giving workshops at genealogy conferences and promoting her new book, Skin Deep. When we caught up with her, Lisa told us that the response to her first effort has been extremely positive and that she was glad that she followed the inner voice that told her the time was right to share her stories. "I didn't consider myself a writer but one woman who teaches a writing course in Washington state plans to make my book required reading for her classes."
Skin Deep describes my 30-year journey to document the lives of my black Canadian ancestors. This narrative describes all of the research techniques (and mistakes) I made along the way, reactions I received from newly-found "white" cousins who, until I showed up at their doorstep, had no idea of their African ancestry, as well as fallout from many of my "black" cousins who have, essentially chosen to discard their own rich African heritage. But more than that, Skin Deep explores the issues of genetics, race and racism, and compares the relative effects these issues have had on blacks in Canada versus blacks in the United States. Skin Deep goes on to describe how my own personal feelings on race have changed since I started researching my family's history in 1970, inspired by a vist Alex Haley paid to my high school several years prior to the publication of his landmark book, Roots.
For her maiden effort, Lisa self-published Skin Deep. She did all the layout and design herself then printed the books on a color laser copier and bound them on a thermal binding machine. Her brother helped with the copy editing. She seriously pondered working with a publisher but wanted her photos to be printed in color. "I knew that any publisher would charge me boatloads of money to do it my way or they would require me to purchase thousands of copies at once. Neither option appealed to me." A website to promote and sell the book is in the works. For now copies can be purchased by emailing Lisa at

You can read Books Forum editor George Geder's review of Skin Deep and his interview with Lisa here:

Lisa Lee is originally from Highland Park, MI and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1987. She works as a Systems Administrator for a dotcom. Lisa is active in several local genealogical societies and is the Editor of "From the Baobab Tree," the quarterly journal of the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California. She is manager of the AfriGeneas Canadian Research Forum.

Posted by Staff on 6/20/04 at 4:45 am EST

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

AfriGeneas Mourns the Death of Lloyd D. Smith

Our dear friend and fellow genealogist and historian, Lloyd Smith, passed away on June 15, 2004. He had been hospitalized following a fall and never recovered. He will be greatly missed.

We have opened a Guestbook for you to leave your thoughts and prayers. Your condolences will be forwarded to his family.

Lloyd was President Emeritus of the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization (MHCDO) in Washington, DC. They issued the following press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Amy Y. Cody June 15, 2004 (202) 396-1201 x163

MHCDO Mourns the Death of Lloyd D. Smith, President Emeritus

Washington, DC – Lloyd D. Smith, President Emeritus of the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization (MHCDO), passed away this morning at Howard University Hospital. Mr. Smith, who was widely recognized for his accomplishments in the community and economic development arena, had been hospitalized for several weeks due to injuries incurred from a recent fall.

In 1980, Lloyd Smith took early retirement after 27 years of Federal and District Government service to become executive director of the fledgling nonprofit organization in Ward 7. During his 18-year tenure, MHCDO grew its staff from 4 to 64, increased its annual budget from $115,000 to $5 million, and developed an acclaimed “holistic approach” to community development by combining housing and economic development activities with human services.

Under Smith’s leadership, MHCDO developed on its own or in partnership with others a 60-unit supportive housing facility, a 469-unit garden-style apartment complex, 220,000 square feet of retail/office space, 20,000 square feet of warehouse/industrial space, and over 100 homes sold to low- and moderate-income buyers. To stabilize families and help them take advantage of economic opportunities, MHCDO provided a cadre of services, including housing and financial counseling, supportive housing, home buying education and assistance, business development services, drug treatment and aftercare services, socialization services for mentally ill seniors, emergency food assistance, job counseling and placement, and adult education classes.

Following his departure from the organization in 1998, MHCDO named its headquarters building at 3939 Benning Road NE in the “Lloyd D. Smith Center.”

“Lloyd Smith was a man for all seasons,” said Loretta Tate, co-founder and president of MHCDO. “Whether you were interested in the history of African-Americans, the Korean War, the District of Columbia, arts and music, architecture, engineering, construction, or business development, Lloyd was the person to see. He loved the District of Columbia, especially the Ward 7 community where he lived. He fought for a better quality of life for everyone and leaves an enormous legacy.”

“Lloyd Smith was a great friend and mentor to many,” said Richard A. Hamilton, chairman of the board of directors of MHCDO. “He was deeply loved and will be deeply missed.”

Posted by Staff on 6/16/04 at 2:22 pm EST

Sunday, June 06, 2004

African American Reunions Site Launched

Reunion season is here! By popular demand, the AfriGeneas Staff has developed a companion site for African American genealogists and family historians who also are planning their family's reunion.

The African American Genealogist's Family Reunion Primer

Our goal is to make the AfriGeneas Family Reunion Primer the best African American family reunion site. AfriGeneas is already number one in African American genealogy! We can do it again.

The AfriGeneas Reunions Staff

Posted by Staff on 6/06/04 at 4:51 pm EST

6 Jul 2003 | 17 Jun 2004
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