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AfriGeneas News & Announcements
June 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Wanda Bennett and Denise Oliver-Velez Named AfriGeneas Volunteers of the Year

We are pleased to announce that Wanda Bennett and Denise Oliver-Velez have been selected as the 2007 AfriGeneas Volunteers of the Year.

Contributor of the Year Wanda Bennett has quietly and steadily worked behind the scenes to build the AfriGeneas Death Records Database. Since 2002 she has contributed more than 10,000 obituaries from the Indianapolis Star, the Evansville Courier, the Messenger-Inquirer, and other newspapers from Indiana and around the country.

Wanda recently retired from the Federal Government after 35 years of service and moved to Lexington, KY from Indiana to be near her family. She now has more time to devote to research on the Rowan and Wickliffe families of Daviess, Ohio and Muhlenberg counties in Kentucky. She has published two family reunion booklets, one in 2004 and another in 2006. The latter one contains about 124 pages of the information that she compiled along with about 30 pages of pictures. The books are sold at reunion near cost with any profit given to the college award program which present awards to the high school students who will be attending college the following school year. Wanda told us that it's just her small way of contributing to their future. Wanda says that she also has more more time to devote to posting records to AfriGeneas.

Manager/Editor of the Year Denise Oliver-Velez has deftly managed the Surnames and Family History Forum (formerly the Beginner's Forum) since 2002 and in the process has helped hundreds of researchers just starting out or advancing their work. She has personally posted almost 3000 messages on the Surnames, Genealogy and other boards.

Denise Oliver-Velez is currently a Professor of Anthropology, and Women's Studies at SUNY New Paltz, an ethnographer and data analyst for AIDS research projects, and a priest of Yemaya in the Lucumi Yoruba faith. She was the Executive Director of The Black Filmmaker Foundation, Program Director of WNYC-TV, Program Director and co-founder of WPFW-FM Pacifica radio, and Grants Manager for the Minority and Women’s Training Grant Program of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). She is also a former member of The Young Lords Party, serving as their Minister of Economic Development and the first woman on the Central Committee, and a former member of The Black Panther Party. She lives on a Hudson Valley NY farm, where she raises goats, and grows roses and garlic.

We are extremely honored and grateful to have Wanda and Denise as part of our team. Please join us in congratulating them.

The AfriGeneas Staff

Posted by
Staff on 6/08/08 at 5:14 pm EST

6 Jul 2003 :: 08 Jun 2008
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