Sunday, October 13, 2013

2013 AAHGS Conference - Saturday, October 12, 2013

Another fun-filled, jam packed day here at the AAHGS conference.

I begin the day by working in a bit of much needed exercise.

After having a filling lunch of salmon on orzo, it was off to session II, Unlocking Our Southern Mosaic: Examining a Family's Life Near It's Slavery Origins, by Dwight Fryer. Mr. Fryer's work as a minister was evident in the way he told the story of his family's origins in Grand Junction, TN.

I have to be honest, when Mr. Fryer began his presentation, I thought he was referring to Grand Junction, CO, a locale where I resided for a few years during my adult life. It was a little confusing at first, because his description of Grand Junction of course wasn't matching up with the Grand Junction I knew. After realizing there was another Grand Junction, the presentation began to make sense.

Wonderful points of interest from Mr. Fryer's presentation include:

  • A Union Army Contraband Camp was formed in Grand Junction, TN.
  • Western Tennessee, where Grand Junction is located, had the same culture and politics as Mississippi. In fact, Mr. Fryer referred to it as Tennessipi.
For the next session (III), I attended Understanding African American Genealogical Patterns as Remnants of Slave Culture: Demographics, Family Dynamics and Religious Practices. The presenters were Rev. Dr. Richard Gardiner and Ceteria Richey.

Ceteria, realized like many African-American families that she knew more about her mother's side of the family that she did her father's side of the family. She also realized that her mother's family was a strongly matriarchal family.

Using the principles of Cognitive Therapy, Ceteria tries to understands the whys of her family? Cognitive Therapy seeks the patient overcome difficulties by  identifying and changing dysfunctional thinking, behavior, and emotional responses. These principles can be applied to society as a whole.

The roots of the matrifocal society in the African-American community finds it's roots in slavery. During slavery, African-American women's value was their womb. Slavery was perpetuated because the status of any children born into slavery was through the mother. When women were sold it was always due to her potential increase to the owner. Women and their young children were often sold together.

Mean while, men were often used as studs, in other words, humans were breed like cattle and horses. Often if the men and women refused each other, they might be whipped.

In my younger days, I use to argue against this notion, that 100+ years removed from slavery that the effects of slavery were still manifest. But, as I've gotten older and looked through the more mature eyes, it seems that families that came through slavery intact do not seem to have as many of the problems as those who were ripped apart.

For the final session of the day, I attended Shelly Murphy's (aka familytreegirl on Twitter) Hitting the Genealogy Brick Walls & Challenges: The Search for Information about Joseph Brand Davis.

Shelly hates using the term Brick Walls because she believes there are no such thing as Brick Walls only Challenges. 

Highlights from Shelly's presentation are as follows:
  • All research should focus on asking questions
  • Know what laws were in place during a particular time frame.
  • Records generate other records
The day was wrapped up with dinner, a little entertainment by two young local talents, and the awards ceremony. Sandwiched between the entertainment and the awards presentation, we listened to the keynote speaker, Thomas Cain talk about the Nashville connection to the music industry. Can you say Little Richard.

And with that it's a wrap folks as my time here at the 2013 AAHGS conference comes to a close. Mom and I will be heading home in the AM. I've had a wonderful time meeting new people, finally meeting those I've known online for a few years now, and just being able to get away for a few days.

Hopefully, this is finally the beginning of me returning to the research and blogging. I hear the ancestors telling me to get back with it. 

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