African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
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Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
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grandmother Kansas City, Kansas 1951 Macon, Georgia family story

In 1951, I was 4 yrs old when I became deathly ill. I was rushed to the University of Kansas hospital, and my grandmother, who was a LNP was told I had a rare disease that only those of Irish desent have. Brights Disease with St. Vitus Dance. I'm dark skinned, and they questioned my grandmother, who had sky blue eyes and very light skinned because they couldn't believe we were really related. I've always had an interest in our heritage, a cousin has traced our family as far back as 1856 and ran into a dead in. My grandmothers father, was white and married a woman that was half cherokee and black. He ran away as a child, when his father died and his mother remarried and was abused by his stepfather. He was taken in by white a family there in Pine Grove, Ga.

He was devout Christian, but he never spoke about his background only in bits and pieces. His name was Joseph Walker. They settled in a place called Ocilla, Georgia. My grandmother was born on August 7, 1885/86. We come from a long line of preachers, male and female, teachers, and my grandfather was a trained steno. and photographer who setup his own dark room. He couldn't find a job in his field because of Jim Crow, but he was always self-employed and he and my grandmother had 10 children, lost their first at the age of 12 (scarlet fever). Our family is very musically inclined. Just recently made a break through in the gospel field. Tye Tribbette and his uncle Wilbur Belton. We were told we had an uncle, Martin Fields that sang like Caruso.

Jim Crow robbed a lot of people of color their hopes and dreams but, we became a race of beauty and poise and the picture of strength.

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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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