Black Wide-Awake turned 5.

… last week, on October 5.

I mentioned on last year’s anniversary that I’d originally intended to create “at least three location-specific sites into which I would pour all the ‘extra’ that I uncovered in the course of my genealogical research. All the court records and photographs and newspaper clippings that did not pertain directly to my people, but documented the lives of the people who built and nurtured (or disrupted) the communities in which they lived.”

It hasn’t happened. As of today, Black Wide-Awake is an astonishing 2880 posts deep, and I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface. To honor my original intentions, though, over the next year, I will give over the blog, a week at time, to the three other North Carolina counties I know best, and maybe a fourth if I think I can do it justice. 

Stay tuned for Iredell County in November. In the meantime, as always, thanks so much for your boundless support and encouragement of Black Wide-Awake. Here’s to five more years of filling in the gaps!

Best regards,

Lisa Y. Henderson, a Mercy Baby.


  1. Congratulations Lisa! I was introduced to your work barely a year ago and I have thoroughly enjoyed and have been inspired by the rich history you have revealed about my beloved home town, Wilson. I look forward to your future work!
    Diann Dawson

  2. Appreciate all that you are doing for the history and family research in your areas/locations.
    Time consuming, and your devotion for the research is enjoyed by all.
    Many thanks

  3. I found your blog on a Facebook post and subscribed immediately. I read every post up here in Northern Ohio and feel like I am studying the history and human nature from your area. I really enjoy reading most of the posts and the others draw on my heart. You have truly created a wonderful archive of information.

  4. Charlotte (every town/city) needs a Lisa Henderson to research history in depth like you do for Wilson! Amazing work!!

  5. Dearest Ms. Henderson,
    First of all let me congratulate you on the 5th Anniversary of of Black Wide Awake posts! I love, love your posts and look forward to reading them. I am so very thankful for you sharing all of the rich historical treasures that you have uncovered. These “treasures” that you have discovered tell the true stories of our African American ancestors cultural, civic and educational contributions to Wilson and other surrounding Counties. My brother Shelton and I are so thankful to you for including our 2nd great grandfather Rev. Austin F. Flood’s 4 page handwritten letter in your Sept. 26, 2019 post. I sent copies of the letter to all of my nieces and nephews as a reminder as to why it was important for them to VOTE. Again, Congratulations and look forward to reading all of your future uncovered treasures.

    1. Thank you! Rev. Flood’s letter was truly a highlight of 2019! Even better, it connected me to another dedicated researcher in Shelton, who has shared many resources on the Tidewater African-American history. Though she moved to NC after marriage, my mother is a third-generation Newport News resident, and my aunt still lives in their childhood home on 35th Street! Take care, and best wishes for a beautiful and safe Christmas season! — Lisa

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