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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
My mother wrote the letter to a cousin. A great-uncle had the bible. The family were freed blacks in Baltimore and slaves in QueenAnne's County. 1813 These relatives lived in Baltimore Maryland. My maternal family history was written in a letter and in a family bible.

In 2002 I wrote a text and organized pictures documenting my mothers maternal and paternal family back to 1801 and 1813 respectively. I was afraid that what I knew would be lost as many of my known maternal relatives in Baltimore have had a hard life. I compiled the story, I relied on memory, the letter and a bible. The first maternal relative was born either in 1801 or 1819 as a slave in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. I have the names and some dates of death of her husband and children. On the paternal side I was surprised to find a written record in a bible of a child born April 5, 1813. I was delighted to learn that these blacks were reading and writing and keeping family records. From their written accounts I was able to document each paternal generation from 1813. They worshiped in a church in Baltimore that was established in 1802. Before that they worshiped in the gallery of a white church. How they managed to live a middle class life is amazing. I feel connected to these early family members in my old age as I am more comfortable with myself. One person was known for cooking and having family parties. An uncle liked to draw. I now paint and sell my art. I enjoy cooking when I do it. In my later years, my faith has become stronger. In the last 8 years I have attended a methodist church like they did. I strongly believe that my gifts and interest are genetically passed down to me.

According to oral history, the young woman who began the written family record first lived in Savannah, Georgia. I would like to know how she got to Baltimore. I have a number of early pictures, but may never be able to match the pictures with names. I want to know more about these family members and others I have yet to explore. Also according to your last show, I now believe that we also had perpetuated the myth of having Indian blood. Oral history told that one of the slave children from Queen Anne's County looked like Buffalo Bill Coty. Well this is all I have to share for now. I have found the show very informative. It motivates me to want to know more.

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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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