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.

CSI: Collecting, Selecting, Identifying Your Ancestors

The Alabama Genealogical Society’s fall seminar, CSI:  Collecting, Selecting, Identifying Your Ancestors, will be held at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery, Alabama.

J. Mark Lowe, professional genealogist, author, and lecturer will present Researching on the Internet, Land Barons or Dirt Farmers, and Finding Your Landless Ancestors.  For registration information see their website at:

AAHGS Journal Call for Papers

From the AAHGS News May/June 2009:

The AAHGS Journal cordially invites you to submit papers that address our ancestors’ lives, their homes and neighborhoods as well as employment and recreation.

Deadline Date:  June 1, 2010.  Papers should be submitted per the regular AAHGS Journal paper submission procedure at

Questions or inquiries can be emailed to: with the subject line AAHGS Paper Submission, or mailed to:  Editorial Board, Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogial Society, PO Box 73067, Washington, DC  20056-3067.

Faces of War blog profiles American Colored Troops

From an article in the May/June 2009 issue of AAHGS News:

“Author Ron Coddington is writing a book about soldiers who served in the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War.  He is searching for original, wartime photographs of identified enlisted men.  He plans to profile soldiers in an upcoming book and is trying to compile about 80 original images.”

Check out his website at for more information.  You can subscribe to his blog via Amazon Kindle for 0.99 a month.  This is the first time I’ve seen a blog via Kindle but I find the idea intriguing.   The subscription includes a 14-day free trial and I’ve just signed up.

The blog itself  includes photographs and links that genealogists and historians alike will find interesting for all types of research projects. Facinating.

Latest Issue of the AAHGS Journal Now Available to Members

At long last, the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society has come back!  Articles featured in Volume 26, Issue 1 are:

Narrative of a Former Slave’s Recollection, by Patricia Carter Slubly

Register of Colored Persons of Smyth County, State of Virginia Cohabitating Together as Husband and Wife on 27th February 1866, by Jeff Weaver

George William Warfield (1837-1919) Ex-Slave and Civil War Veteran, by Carolyn Warfield

Fugitives from Enslavement as Abstracted from Price George’s County Commissioner of Slave Statistics, by Patsy Fletcher

“Sketch of the Life and Labors of Rev. Henry Highland Garnet” A Second Look, by Kathleen Vlesor, Ed.D

Finding Emma Pullen, by Debora Pullen Plunkett

Guilford Hervey and Descendants, by Jacqueline E. A. Lawson and Cynthia A. W. Wilson

Along with the above, a call for historical and genealogical papers to submit to the journal on the theme of “African American Lives in Context” as well as book reviews on The Segregated scholars:  Black Social Scientists and the Creation of Black Labor Studies, 1890-1950, Francille Rusan Wilson (2006); and Clinging to Mammy:  The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America, Micki McElya (2007) are included.

It’s great to see the Journal back up and running again!

African American Anthem

My friend Leona Martin, President of the AAHGS New England Chapter, forwarded this link – it is a four minute and fifty-eight second YouTube video sung by Grace Baptist Church Cathedral Choir on inauguration day in Mount Vernon, New York. In a microcosm it shows a timeline of African American history – how many historical moments and figures can you recognize?

Thank you Leona for sharing this beautiful and powerful video with us.

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