• February 2010
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Free Blacks Frederick County Virginia

Free Blacks in Personal Property Tax Lists of Frederick County, Virginia

African American Newspaper Archives

Free Genealogy Tools

Richmond Slave Trail

Richmond to install 16 markers on slave trail.

African-American History – NC

The N.C. State Historic Sites staff (www.nchistoricsites.org) will demonstrate African games and tips from Charlotte Hawkins Brown’s book “The Correct Thing to Say, Do, and Wear.” U.S. Colored Troops re-enactors will pitch tents. Many other activities are scheduled. A special presentation from architect Phil Freelon will review architectural planning for the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro and plans for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The Museum of History will offer other African American History programs throughout February and will open a major Thomas Day furniture exhibit on May 22.

A film about the often-forgotten history of the cultural and racial fusion of Native Americans and African Americans will be screened at Town Creek Indian Mound State Historic site in Mount Gilead on Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. “Black Indians: An American Story” is narrated by James Earl Jones. In Raleigh, authors and community leaders will celebrate their favorite authors in the “African American Read-In” at the State Capitol on Feb. 27 from noon to 4 p.m.

Throughout February, visitors to the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Memorial in Sedalia can see a free exhibit about African Americans on U.S postage stamps. The N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer has a permanent exhibit, “North Carolina Lining Bar Gangs,” in tribute to African American workers who laid the rails and were known as “gandy dancers” because their work was combined with rhythmic singing.

“Liberty and Justice for All: Black Voices from the Past” is a play to be presented at Tryon Palace State Historic Site and Gardens on Feb. 18. Dr. Reginald Watson, an associate professor at East Carolina University, will introduce the play, which depicts various scenes from African American history. Tryon Palace also offers a walking tour highlighting the African American history of New Bern and a lecture series. The Tryon Palace Jonkonnu Troupe recreates the songs/dance/music of 19th-century slaves who came from the Caribbean and Africa to eastern North Carolina; the troupe has performed for school groups and for gubernatorial inaugurations.

Among N.C. State Historic Sites that interpret African American history daily is Somerset Place in Creswell, once a plantation of more than 100,000 mainly-wooded acres. The site has representations of several slave community buildings and the Collins family home to tour. Historic Stagville in Durham also was among antebellum North Carolina’s largest plantations at 30,000 acres; it still features the Great Barn, a massive structure built by enslaved craftsmen. The Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum began in 1902 as the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia and was a preparatory school for black youth that shaped many lives, thanks to founder Charlotte Hawkins Brown.

Many events and accomplishments in North Carolina history are noted with an N. C. Historical Highway Marker, often called “History on a Stick.” A marker in Dare County for Richard Etheridge notes that he was the first African American to serve as commanding officer of the all-black Pea Island Life Saving Station, 1880-1900. In Edenton a marker salutes Harriet Jacobs, who hid in her grandmother’s attic for seven years before escaping to the North and becoming an abolitionist. A marker is in Chatham County for George Moses Horton, a slave who became the first black to publish a collection of poetry in 1829; he also authored the first book published by an African American in the South. Visit http://www.ncmarkers.com and enter African American History in the search line to see the complete list.

The recently-published A Day of Blood: The 1898 Wilmington Race Riot is among the books about African American history available from the N.C. Historical Publications Branch of the Office of Archives and History. Through February the prices of all African American titles are reduced by 25 percent. Among other titles are A History of African Americans in North Carolina,” “Recollections of My Slavery Days and Black Experience in Revolutionary NC.” Visit http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/african-american-history.html.

Now is a good time to trace family history, before the family reunion. In addition to the State Archives, the Genealogy Branch of the State Library of North Carolina has finding aids to help with research of family history all year. Visit the State Archives at http://www.archives.ncdcr.gov/default.htm or the State Library Genealogy Branch at http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/patrons/genealogists.html.

For additional information call (919) 807-7389. The Department of Cultural Resources is the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information is available 24/7 at www.ncculture.com.

African-American History Month at NARA

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 — The National Archives will celebrate African-American History Month in February with special films, public programs, book talks, and lectures, including a special event on the legacy of John Hope Franklin. These events are free and open to the public and will be held at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., and at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

Visitors to the William G. McGowan Theater should enter at the Special Events Entrance at Constitution Ave. and 7th St., NW. Visitors to all programs in the National Archives Building Research Center (Room G-24) should use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. The National Archives at College Park, MD, is located at 8601 Adelphi Road. Both locations are fully accessible. For directions, see: http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro.

Wednesday, February 17, 7 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater

A Salute to the Tuskegee Airmen

In partnership with Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Archives Experience presents a panel discussion and film screening celebrating the achievements of America’s first African American military airmen. Moderated by Dr. Rex M. Ellis, associate director of curatorial affairs, Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, the discussion will include Lt. Gen. (ret.) Russell C. Davis, current president of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., and several surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen. The program will also include a screening of Wings for This Man, an 11-minute film produced in 1944 by the Army Air Forces and narrated by Ronald Reagan.

Thursday, February 18, 7 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater

From Slavery to Freedom and the Legacy of John Hope Franklin

The National Archives hosts a program on the legacy of John Hope Franklin and the ninth edition of the award-winning work From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin and Evelyn Higginbotham. The program will include a panel discussion exploring Franklin’s lasting legacy. Joining the discussion will be Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, co-author of From Slavery to Freedom; Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero; and John Franklin, son of John Hope Franklin. A book signing will follow the program. The book is available at a discount from the Archives Shop (202-357-5271) before and during the event.

Wednesday, February 24, noon, William G. McGowan Theater

Captain “Hell Roaring” Mike Healy: From American Slave to Arctic Hero

In the late 1880s, many lives in maritime Alaska rested in the hands of Michael A. Healy. During his years in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, Healy arrested lawbreakers, helped to deter smuggling, rescued sailors in distress, helped to improve the lives of indigenous populations, prevented the wholesale slaughter of marine wildlife, and explored unknown waters and lands. Today Dennis Noble and Truman Strobridge discuss their book, Captain “Hell Roaring” Mike Healy. A book signing will follow the program. The book is available at a discount from the Archives Shop (202-357-5271) before and during the event.

Related National Archives “Know your Records” Programs

Tuesday, February 9, 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center

African American Genealogy in Ancestry.com

Sabrina Petersen of Ancestry.com discusses African American genealogy resources in National Archives records available through Ancestry.com. (The lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, Thursday, February 11, 11 a.m.)

Tuesday, February 16, 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center

“Face to Face with History”: African American Civil War Surgeons

Jill L. Newmark, exhibition specialist and registrar in the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine, discusses her article “Face to Face with History” in the Fall 2009 issue of Prologue magazine. She shares her discovery of William P. Powell, Jr.’s story as an African American surgeon during the Civil War and how National Archives records provide a glimpse into a rarely studied part of history. (The lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, Thursday, February 18, 11 a.m.)

Wednesday, February 17, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center

Beyond the Basics: African American Genealogy

Archives staff teach “beyond the basic” archival research skills on the third Wednesday and third Saturday of the month. Wednesday’s topic will be African American genealogy.


Fighting for Democracy

This temporary exhibit explores questions of citizenship and identity in America during World War II. What do we mean by “We the People?” This question is explored through the experiences of women and men who sought equal treatment during World War II. The exhibit tackles questions about freedom, history, and democracy in a diverse America. One section follows the story of Roger C. “Bill” Terry, a Tuskegee Airman. Fighting for Democracy opens to the public on Friday, January 29, in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., and runs through Sunday, February 28, 2010.

Public Vaults Permanent Exhibition

The Public Vaults exhibition gives visitors the sensation of going behind-the-scenes to explore among the billions of unique documents, photographs, maps, films, recordings, and objects in the holdings of the National Archives. This permanent exhibition includes a section on records from the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands–popularly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau. The exhibition also includes a section on Civil Rights titled “Courting Freedom” that explores the evolution of American civil liberties with highlights from the evidence and judgments in important court cases, including documentation from the police report on the arrest of Rosa Parks.

To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program, please email public.program@nara.gov or call (202) 357-5000 at least two weeks prior to the event. To verify the date and times of the programs, see the Calendar of Events on the web at: http://www.archives.gov/calendar/.

African American Newspapers at GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank, a leading online provider of newspapers for family history research, announced today that it will be adding over 280 fully-searchable African-American newspapers with coverage from 1827 to 1999. GenealogyBank released the first 61 newspapers in this new series earlier this month, including coverage from 20 states.

“These newspapers are packed with genealogical and historical details of the African-American experience you simply can’t find in other online sources,” says Tom Kemp, NewsBank’s Director of Genealogy. “Making this robust and often rare content available for everyone to use helps all Americans discover the inspiring stories of our forefathers who paved the way for a better, more diverse America.”

The African-American newspaper collection is created from the most extensive African-American newspaper archives in the United Sates – those of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Kansas State Historical Society and Library of Congress. African-American newspapers currently available in GenealogyBank include:

  • Savannah Tribune (GA)
  • Chicago Metro News (IL)
  • Negro Star (KS)
  • Plain Dealer (KS)
  • Milwaukee Star (WI)
  • and many more

An easy-to-use interface and search tools help users locate obituaries, marriage records, advertisements, hometown news articles, editorials, illustrations and much more.

“The initial release features millions of family history records from across the nation,” adds Kemp. “GenealogyBank will continue to expand this collection by adding hundreds of additional newspapers in the upcoming months.” Search African-American Newspapers now!

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/GenealogyBank.

Join us on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/pages/GenealogyBank/113441720932?ref=mf.

About GenealogyBank:
GenealogyBank, a division of NewsBank, inc., supplies individuals interested in family history research with over 4,000 U.S. newspapers, government and historical records, from 1600 to the present in all 50 states. GenealogyBank contains millions of obituaries, birth, marriage, and death notices, military records and free access to the Social Security Death Index. GenealogyBank can be found at: www.GenealogyBank.com.

NARA Online Course

Archival Research Basics with the National Archives