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AfriGeneas News & Announcements
September 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Book Highlights Contributions of African American Revolutionary War Patriots

In commemoration of Constitution Week, Sept. 17- 23, the Blue Savannah-Swamp Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) presented a book to the Marion County Library.

The book, Forgotten Patriots—African American and American Indian Patriots of the Revolutionary War: A Guide to Service, Sources and Studies, was published in May 2008 by NSDAR and identifies over 6,600 names of African Americans and American Indians who contributed to American Independence. Forgotten Patriots is a unique publication that offers an enormous amount of research in one 872-page resource book. No other similar guide exists for the history of the participation of African Americans and American Indians in the Revolutionary War.

Oscar Marion is one African American patriot listed in the book who is of great interest to Marion County. Often characterized in history as Francis Marion’s “faithful servant,” Oscar was General Marion’s constant companion during the seven years of the war. He also served in the Militia. Oscar appears with Marion in an early 19th Century painting by the artist, John Blake White, titled “General Marion Inviting a British Officer to Share His Meal.”

The original painting has been displayed in the U.S. Capitol since 1899. A print of this well-known painting hangs in the S.C. Room of the Marion County Library. Anyone interested in American history and genealogy is encouraged to visit the library and review this unprecedented new publication.


Posted by Staff on 9/24/08 at 2:51 am EST

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Henry Williams, the 'Father of Africatown', dies at 88

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
By Robert McClendon
Staff Reporter

Henry Williams, known to some as the father of Africatown, died Monday at his home in Mobile after a battle with cancer. He was 88.

Williams is regarded by many as the founder of the Africatown movement, which pushed for the preservation of the area surrounding Magazine Pointe in northeast Mobile as a historical site. The area was the landing site of the Clotilde, the last known slave ship to bring Africans to America for the purpose of slavery.

A welder and historian, who at one time drove around with a metal buffalo in the back of his pickup truck, Williams was known to speak authoritatively on a range of subjects, seamlessly weaving fact and apparent fiction for the sake of the yarn, according to some people who knew him well.

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Source: Mobile Press-Register

Posted by Staff on 9/17/08 at 9:12 pm EST

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spike Lee Does the Right Thing in France for Forgotten Black Troops

DEAUVILLE, France (AFP) — Spike Lee visited a World War II cemetery near France's D-Day landing beaches before presenting the European premiere of his film about the forgotten contribution of African-American soldiers to the war that freed Europe from Nazi tyranny.

"I was surprised to find African-Americans buried there too," he told reporters after his trip to one of the many cemeteries on the Normandy coast where lie thousands of Allied soldiers killed as they stormed ashore in 1944.

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Source: AFP

Posted by Staff on 9/15/08 at 10:22 pm EST

Work of NC History Advocate Brought Lives of Slaves to Light

August 21, 2008
By Frank Roberts

Dorothy Spruill Redford's great-great-great grandparents, Elsie and Peter Littlejohn, were field hands at Somerset Place.

Hundreds of slaves worked the 125,000 acres of the antebellum plantation, toiling and sweating from early morning darkness to 10 at night, handling tasks that were backbreaking and heartbreaking.

The family home of the plantation owners, the Collins family, is part of the site that now belongs to the state. Since 1988, Redford has been executive director of the state historic site.

She retires Sept. 1 after 20 years as the driving force assuring that the once-neglected properties were made into an impressive attraction of historical importance.

Karen Moore Hayes of Weeksville, who has worked at Somerset for 11 years, as assistant director for 10, will take over. She has a degree in business management from Elizabeth City State University.

Redford said a major qualification was "working here, with me, for all those years." The announcement was made Saturday at a ceremony honoring Redford.

Before Redford took the helm, visitors saw very little, learned very little. The Collins family home was the only building open to the public.

Now, nine buildings are open, including "three rather impressive and imposing reconstruction buildings in the former slave community," she said.

"You don't see original slave quarters, not even in Monticello. They're obliterated, but the (plantation) houses are left," state Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare, said in a telephone interview.

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Source: The Virginian-Pilot

Posted by Staff on 9/15/08 at 10:09 pm EST

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Documentary Series Receives $12M in Funding

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) recently announced funding in the amount of $12 million for three, new public television documentary series in which Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr. will explore the meaning of race, culture, and identity in America. Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, as well as director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. His recent PBS series include "African American Lives" and "African American Lives 2," "Oprah’s Roots: An African American Lives Special," "America Beyond the Color Line,” and “Wonders of the African World."

Hosted and co-produced by Gates, the forthcoming projects (which are expected to premiere in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively) will include "The Faces of America," "Searching for Our Roots: The History of the African American People," and "African American Lives 3: Reclaiming Our Past." Each will be produced by WNET in New York, Kunhardt Productions, and Inkwell Films.

In "The Faces of America," Gates will again put to powerful effect the latest DNA technology and genealogy, this time in a four-part examination of well-known Americans of all races and the often-surprising stories of their ancestors. In "Searching for Our Roots: The History of the African American People," Gates will investigate the 300-year black experience in America. "Searching for Our Roots" will run eight hours total. Finally, in "African American Lives 3: Reclaiming Our Past," Gates will conclude his popular series on the genealogy of prominent, contemporary African Americans.

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Source: Harvard University Gazette Online

Posted by Staff on 9/15/08 at 9:38 pm EST

Pennsylvania Compiling Rural Black History

By Vernon Clark
Inquirer Staff Writer

In towns and rural areas of Pennsylvania, a team of eight researchers is working on what organizers describe as an unprecedented effort to chronicle the history of African Americans in the state.

"What we are looking at specifically is black history in communities across the state - how black communities developed, where they were located, who comprised black communities and what they looked like," said Ken Wolensky, a historian with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

The commission is using a $142,000 grant from the National Park Service and its own matching funds to tell the stories of black Pennsylvanians since the 1770s.

"We're the first state in the nation to undertake this kind of a comprehensive survey and analysis of black history," Wolensky said. "Pennsylvania has taken a leadership role here in looking at this history and evaluating its significance."

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Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Posted by Staff on 9/15/08 at 8:17 pm EST

6 Jul 2003 :: 15 Sep 2008
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