Happy birthday to a daughter of East Wilson!

My uncles moved North; my father and his sister cast their lots in Wilson. Both had two daughters, born in age-matched pairs. Monica Ellis Barnes was born exactly nine months before I was and was my very first bestie. Here we are, with her little sister, in front of their house on Faison Street. Happy milestone birthday, cousin! May it be filled with laughter and all the love your heart can hold!


A quick chart I drew up.

Among the most rewarding aspects of researching for Black Wide-Awake are discovering, uncovering, and recovering lost family connections, both my own and others’. I was particularly excited to piece together the Taylor family puzzle, which linked three of my childhood friends. Wilson County is small enough that it’s not surprising that many of us share distant common ancestry, but just who those long-lost cousins are can be surprising indeed.