Friday, October 11, 2013

2013 AAHGS Conference - Friday, October 11, 2013

Today was the first full day of speakers at the 2013 AAHGS Conference.

I took in two of the four sessions (Session I and Session IV).

For Session I, which was from 10:30 to 11:30, I attended Toni Carrier's presentation on Port Royal: The Birthplace of Freedom in the Old South. I've known Toni for several years via now the online Genealogy Community. So, not only did I learn a lot about Port Royal but I also got an opportunity to finally meet Toni in person by attending this session.

The events that occurred in Port Royal helped to set the stage for emancipation elsewhere. Some of the interesting facts that I learned from Toni's presentation were

  • 9 of the 16 largest slave holders were in SC
  • More than 5,000 men from SC served in the USCT after the fall of Port Royal 
  • Sherman was forced to call on northern charities to helped provide subsistence to the former slaves
  • Many of the Freedman formed land cooperatives in order to purchase land. Many descendants of the freedmen still live on the land .
To find out more about Toni's work, please be sure to check out Low Country Africana

Lunch was from 11:45 - 1:15 and the keynote speaker was Chris Haley, nephew of Alex Haley, author of Roots. The topic of Chris' speech was Our Ancestors Gave Us the Rights; Our Nation Gives Us the Potential.

Neither my mother nor I attended the 2nd and 3rd sessions for today, which were from 1:30 - 3:45 . Instead, we ventured to the Nashville National Cemetery in order that I could see my Uncle's grave in person. When my Uncle Toussaint passed, I was not able to attend his funeral. I also recently acquired some information on my uncle's life and the struggles that he and my aunt had to go through while pursuing careers in education. Lastly, since my aunt and uncle never had any children and there is no other known family in Tennessee,  it was my own personal way of acknowledging that my uncle would not be forgotten.

After visiting my uncle's grave, I took my mother for a little shopping at the mall. Whenever we travel out of state, mom always wants to check out the stores, even if they are they same ones we have back in North Carolina, because she always looking for a new pair of shoes.

After returning to the conference, mom and I attended separate presentations during Session IV, which was form 4:00 to 5:00. I attended Researching Abandoned Cemeteries by Jo Ann Williams McClellan. Ms. McClellan discussed how she went about trying to find Negro Cemeteries in Maury County, TN.

Ms. McClellan began with the approach of determining the location of Negro schools and churches. This was accomplished by checking records, interviewing local historians and community elders, and contacting local funeral home directors.

Via these methods, names of cemeteries were determined but not always their exact location. In order to better determine the location of the cemeteries Ms. McClellan used the Internet, especially the Geographic Names and Information System (GNIS).

Ms. McClellan's research project was later expanded to include death records because the majority of graves did not contain headstones. More information about Ms. McClellan's project can be found in Gone But Not Forgotten African American Cemeteries and 1908 - 1930 Death Records of Maury County, Tennessee (ISBN 0981995152 9780981995151).

Dinner for tonight was a wonderful buffet which included potato salad, collard greens and potatoes, sweet potato casserole, pulled pork, ribs, and apple cobbler.

After dinner, we heard the final speaker for today, Dr. Learotha Williams, who did a presentation of Slave Grandchildren Remember. Dr. Williams is documenting the remembrances of grandchildren whose grandparents were born into slavery.

And so the day comes to a close. Looking toward another fun filled day tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. So glad you were blessed to attend! I would have loved to attend the second session about cemeteries. In Township #5, Craven County, NC where my husband's ancestors are buried, many of the cemeteries are private family ones now in someone else's back yard...or in the forest... And, many of the death certificates which denote "George Family Cemetery" couldn't possibly have put them all in there along the river bank...just too small, unless the land looked very different at the turn of the 20th century. Enjoy the rest of the conference for all of us who can't attend...and THANK YOU for reporting on your experience!!! :-)


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