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African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In Search of Our Roots -- Buy the companion book now from ShopPBS
Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
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STORYTELLER LOCATION YEAR TOOK PLACE TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN HOW YOU HEARD
MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER & HER YOUNGER BROTHER (FOUR GENERATIONS REMOVED) LAFAYETTE, ALABAMA CHAMBERS COUNTY 1878 CHAMBERS COUNTY, ALABAMA STORY PASSED DOWN THROUGH THE GENERATIONS

My grandmother Salina (five generations removed) had a master who was reluctant to free his slaves; however, my grandmother had a different plan. After hiding her older children in the nearby woods, she went into the Master's house and prepared the evening meal. After the house had settled for the evening, she returned to her cabin, and bundled up her babies, and walked away from the plantation. When she stopped to make a home for herself and her youngest five mulatto children, she was in Chambers County, Alabama. Salina had walked away from the Kimbrough Plantation in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, and reached a place she could call home.

Salina had spent all fourty-two years of her life as a slave. As a child, Salina, her mother Patience, and all eighteen of her siblings were the property of Dr. Nathan Crawford of Appling, Georgia. When Dr. Crawford's oldest daughter was married, Salina, her sister Angeline, and all their children were given to the daughter as a wedding present. The daughter, Mary Ann Crawford and her husband (Kimbrough) moved to Tallapoosa County, Alabama.

A few years later, after escaping slavery, Salina married a man named Elbert Ash. In the 1870 census record, her five mulatto children were in the home with her, but they were listed under the name of Kimbros (Kimbrough). In 1871, Salina would give birth to a son named Thomas Ash. Salina would live only thirteen years as a free woman. She died in August of 1878, and is buried in Providence Baptist Church (a white church off hwy 50) Cemetery in Chambers, County, Alabama.

After their mother's death, Salina's five mulatto children changed their names back to Crawford (the oldest ones being born on the Crawford Plantation) with the hope of locating their oldest siblings, and other relatives. By 1880, all of Salina's children, with the exception of Thomas, were listed as Crawfords in all of the official documents.

In 1978, one hundred years after Salina's death, over 100 of our family members gathered in Washington, D.C., and held our first family reunion. Thirty years later, while representing ten generations, Patience's and Salina's descendants are still gathering to celebrate family. Through the years, our names have changed, as well as our social econmical backgrounds. We no longer have to identify with the name of "the 'ol masser", because we have made names for ourselves, but because we are not ashame of our past, we proudly claim the Crawford-Ash name.

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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.
The Coca-Cola Company Johnson & Johnson Buick
KUNHARDT Thirteen/WNET New York