finding your roots

Our Family’s Place in the Civil Rights Movement

Tammy Tynes Ferguson July 25, 2013

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!

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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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