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?

Margaret Lewis

Being born in Nashville, TN, and attending college in Arkansas, during those years when the United States was still trying to figure out what to call me, I am thankful that my Grandmother, pictured here and her daughter, my Mother and my Father taught me and my siblings who we were and where our African ancestors originated. Sketchy as that information was, we knew that we, Black people, came from a “mighty people,” as my Father called them. In our segregated communities, our teachers, ministers, civic and fraternal leaders reinforced and added to those teachings. In my community, I came in direct contact with our Black professionals, our business leaders, and our politicians. Even as a child, I was a ferocious reader and have now augmented my readings with travel, especially to the Motherland from which I’ve gained so much about my history. It is now my privilege to share with the younger members of my family what I have learned as I research our family tree and hope that they will be able to add the missing pieces.