African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
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Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
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My grandmother and my great uncle Alfred Wilson Mississippi 1920s Mississippi This story was often told at family events.

My grandmother used to entertain her grandchildren with stories about how she and her brothers escape from the South. She called it an escape because they were share crop farmers in the South. Grandmother used to say there was no difference between slavery and share crop farming. As young people she and her brothers decided that they could have better life if they moved North. Everyone in my family liked to hear the story of how my grandmother left because she got tired of a White foreman riding through the fields checking on the workers. She said he would ride his horse so close that it's tail would fly in her face. So she ran away. Then her younger brother decided he would follow her.

His story was exciting because he hopped a freight train to Chicago. Apparently, he had no money when he arrived. However, when I was growing up he had become financially very successful. I grew up in the 1960s. My uncle owned a story, and had a job working in a GMC factory. Our family lived in a small town called North Chicago, IL. At the time I didn't realize that the people I called uncle were my great uncles and aunts. I was witnessing the dying out of our family. My mother, father, sister and brother are all dead. I have two children but regret that I don't have more of my family's history. I don't even have pictures. Just my memory of childhood stories.

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Major corporate funding for African American Lives 2 and its outreach initiatives is provided by The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Additional corporate funding is provided by Buick.
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