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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
Great Grand Mother Louisa County, Virginia and the James river Richmond Virginia 1868 Bumpass, Virginia. Louisa County Orally from my maternal Great Grand mother. It was true as far as we know

All that we know is that my Great Great Great Grandpa Lewis Martin Diggs was not a slave, they say he was a free man or freedman. He married a half white lady named Lucy who's daddy was white and gave her about 80 acres of land in Louisa County. Looking at the pictures of him he was a dashing man with "good hair". They say he gambled alot. He won some of the land that has remained in the family for generations. But the story goes that he made the 5-7 day trek to Richmond to sell tobacco, once a month, but it was told that the wagon had a false bottom and that he sold moonshine. The story goes that on one of these trips he did not make it back from Richmond, they found him dead in the James river. It was said that Lucy managed to keep the land and passed it down through the generations. We do not know who killed Lewis Martin all we know is that through the generations bootleg stories stayed in the family. The land stayed in the family and through hard work domestic and railroad portership money stayed in the Diggs family and later generations were educated and made something of themselves. I had a Maternal great grandmother who lived until she was 91. She told us many stories. Her mother was a very dark lady who's husband worked the railroads from NY to VA. He was never home.

Somehow my great grand mother and 3 of her siblings had a white father who was the local traveling grocery man. Reportedly he had a wagon that he drove through the farming community. He also owned a grocery store on the corner of the street on which I live now. My great great grandmother looked white, she had been permitted to go to that corner grocery store anytime she wanted. We have a deed to the land that remains in the family to this day dating back to 1867.

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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