Our Family’s Place in the Civil Rights Movement
I have been working on both my husband’s and my family trees for the past year. I have found wonderful stories about ancestors on both sides who were integral parts of the civil rights movement whom we never knew about. My husband’s 3rd great grand uncle, William Donnegan, friend and bootmaker to Abraham Lincoln, assisted in the Underground Railroad, leading many slaves to freedom, and was later murdered by an angry white mob during the Springfield Race Riots of 1908 in Springfield Illinois. The NAACP was formed as a result of the outcry of the riots and his senseless murder. On my side I found that my cousin, William Meredith Holland, worked tirelessly in the 1960s and ’70s to desegregate schools and other public places in Palm Beach County, Florida. So, we both have unique civil rights leaders on both sides of our family tree!