Gilder Lehrman Online John Brown Exhibition


If you cannot make it to either the Massachusetts Historical Society to hear the lectures and see the exhibit on John Brown, perhaps you can see the exhibit at the New York Historical Society that runs from September 15, 2009 through March 25, 2010.

If you cannot do either — you’re in luck.  Visit Gilder Lehrman’s website at

to see the online exhibit.  If you have never visited this site before, you’re in for a treat.  Not only can you see original documents able to be enlarged so you can read them — they have transcriptions as well.


Forgotten Patriots wins the Jacobus Award

At its meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 10 October 2009, the American Society of Genealogists voted to give their annual Donald Lines Jacobus Award to FORGOTTEN PATRIOITS, AFRICAN AMERICAN AND AMERICAN INDIAN PATRIOTS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR: A GUIDE TO SERVICE, SOURCES, AND STUDIES, edited by Eric Grundset, Director of the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., and published by the DAR in 2008. wins the Jacobus Award

Researched by Briana L. Diaz, Hollis L. Gentry, and Jean D. Strahan, as well as by the editor, this substantial reference work has a general introduction, state-by-state introductions, sources, and bibliography, an alphabetical list of names with source codes, maps, photographs, and a glossary of obscure words found in the original records. Many appendices deal with topics such as documenting the color of soldiers and using names as clues to finding them. It is not a collection of biographies but a compilation of source references for individual soldiers that will greatly improve the breadth and accuracy of research.

Since Revolutionary War service is often the starting point for research on families of color, this book opens new doors in an increasingly compelling field of genealogy.

The Donald Lines Jacobus Award was established in 1972 to encourage sound scholarship in genealogical writing. It is presented to a model genealogical work published within the previous five years. A list of the books receiving the award in previous years appears on the American Society of Genealogists website ( Anyone planning to publish their own research, especially as a compiled genealogy or family history, would do well to study the format and style of these books.

Author Tony Burroughs Comments on Michele Obama’s Genealogy

Tony Burroughs has written a commentary on the story of Michelle Obama’s genealogy which has seen quite a lot of press lately.

You can find the article here:

Pullman Porters

AARP’s magazine had an interesting article this month on Pullman Porters.  Within the magazine, they had profiled three gentlemen who worked as porters, including Lee Gibson who is 99 years old.

Unfortunately the article is mostly photographs and brief encapsulated histories of the three men, but there is a short five-minute film on the website at that is worth watching.

At the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Arkansas in September, I picked up a book Rising from the Rails:  Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class by Larry Tye, Henry Holt & Co, LLC, New York:  2004.  It looks promising.

John Brown at Mass Historical Society

From the 12th of October through the 23 of December 2009 the Massachusetts Historical Society will be running an exhibit entitled “John Brown – Martyr to Freedom or American Terrorist — or Both?” The exhibit will open on the 150th anniversary of the raid – the 17th of October.

From their flyer:

“On 17 October 1859, abolitionist John Brown and 21 followers made an armed attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in what is now West Virginia, taking townspeople as hostages, seizing arms, and hoping to incite a slave rebellion…the Society’s exhibition will present a selection of personal papers, photographs, engravings, and artifacts that document the raid and Brown’s trial and execution, all of which catalyzed powerful and sometimes extreme reactions from the American public. The debate that began then about the morality and meaning of Brown’s actions continues today, and the display will include examples of the ongoing argument.”

See for more listings of programs at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Call for Papers: Black New England Conference 2010

From my friends at the New England Chapter of AAHGS:

Black New England Conference 2010
The Politics of Race: Movements, Protests, Leaders, and Representation
The 2010 conference will cover the history of cultural, social, and political movements in New England from the 1700s to the present. As the word ‘representation’ indicates, the conference will include presentations on the politics concerning and the forms of representing such events and people of African descent in New England.
For Information Please Contact
Center for New England Culture
Huddleston Hall/73 Main St/ Durham, NH 03824
Phone: 603-862-0693
Thursday, October 14th 2010 – Saturday, October 16th 2010

Tom Joyner Wants Pardon for Wrongly Convicted Uncles

Nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner is asking South Carolina to posthumously pardon two of his great-uncles — black landowners executed in 1915 after being convicted of murdering an elderly Confederate Army veteran.

Read the full story here:

Massachusetts Group Hopes to Save Underground Railroad House

In Concord, Massachusetts a battle looms.  The Caesar-Robbins house, believed to be a stop on the Underground Railroad, lost its owner last year when he passed away.  The new owners filed papers to have the house demolished back in March 2009.  Because of the house’s historical significance, the demolition was stayed for six months per law.

A preservation group called the Drinking Gourd Project hopes to raise enough money to save it.  See the full story here:

Slave Narratives Now in AAHGS News

The slave narratives recorded by writers with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s provide incredible insight into the interviewees’ lives in slavery and freedom.

Starting with the September/October 2009 issue of AAHGS News available to members of AAHGS or by ordering single issues from the website at, this new feature further expands that documentation by sharing stories about the lives of former slaves and their descendants in freedom.

The September/October 2009 issue features the exciting accomplishments of the Toles family of Columbus, Georgia,  just one generation after slavery.

International Black Genealogy Summit

The Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana will be the site of the International Black Genealogy Summit from October 29-31, 2009.  For the first time in history, all of the black genealogical societies in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean will come together to host a joint conference on researching and writing family history.

You are invited to explore your own family’s history during this momentous event.  The conference features genealogy workshops, hands-on trainings, DNA research and much more.

To register or for more information go to their website at

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