African-American history has played an integral role in the shaping of politics, economics, and culture in the United States. Growing up, how did you learn about the accomplishments and struggles of African Americans? Were you in a classroom? Reading a book? Talking with relatives or friends? How has your understanding or knowledge of African-American history changed and/or developed over time? What do you think is the most effective way to pass along this rich and growing history to future generations?

Edward Johnson

As our family historian I am very involved in discovering and writing about my ancestors. Our stories are not unique but very moving, especially for members of our family. We are the “Grayer (Grier), Chavis” family. Our ancestors came to Canada mostly via the UGRR from 1820 to 1870. They settled in an area called Colchester South, Essex, Ontario. Most were fugitive slaves. Some were free Blacks, Mixed Race, and Mixed Race Native Americans, fleeing the USA because of persecution and the Fugitive Slave Laws. Our ancestral family names include: Grayer (Grier), Chavis, Harris, Pearl (Perrel), Hatfield, Conway, Clingman, Green, Evans, and Atkinson. The most complete story I have researched is Gabriel Klingman and his escape from slavery (1848) in Greenup, Kentucky. I enjoy this site and the PBS series.

Edward Milo Johnson