finding your roots

From The Help to The Great Migration

Donna M Rizzo February 29, 2012

My Family Tree

I shared the story of my Kittian side, now here is the story on my African American/Black side as far back as I know it.

All African Americans are aware that once slavery “ended” Black people still had to work in homes and with white families to make ends meet. The first picture I attached is of my great great grandmother in Montgomery/Birmingham Alabama as an indentured servant. She had 12 children, the youngest of which was my great-grandmother, Rosebud Jordan, who was born in 1901. The second picture shows the family tree from as far back as we know. It includes my great great grandmother, her husband, and her 12 children and the years they were born. This also give a bit of insight into our Jackson family relations. Prince, is one of my great grandmothers siblings.

Before my great grandmother passed she would tell us stories about her working as a teacher. Her pride wouldnt tell us that she was actually a maid or as society now knows it The Help. Her husband, my great grandfather was a brick layer. He moved up to Detroit, Michigan during the Great Migration with my grandmother, Gladys Motley, and her brother Edward, to find more work laying bricks and train tracks. The final picture I attached is of my grandmother in a black and white picture that was colored in. Much of my family is still in Detroit, but unfortunately with our older relatives passing away and losing their memory, we are losing a lot of contact, but I still hold these stories near and dear to my heart.

My Great Great Grandmother

My Grandma

My Grandmother














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    March 23, 2012 at 9:32 am


  • Dee McPhersonn

    April 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I love those pictures…they are beautiful women. I know what you mean about the older relatives that die….they take a lot of history with them. My sister, at the age of 40 started talking to all of our older relatives and got a lot of info from them. She also visited places that kept records and was able to trace 5 different set of families starting as earlier as 1759…what a job and a great deal of history uncovered.

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About the Series

The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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