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.
I find myself with an unexpected day off, so what better way to kick off the real holiday than chopping it up with Zella Palmer about family, Black history, and Wide-Awake Wilson?
Zella is chair and director of Dillard University’s Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture and renowned for her innovative work to preserve African-American food culture. Find out what she and I have in common — besides everything Black — this afternoon at 3:00 PM Eastern in our Instagram Live conversation @maisonzella!
Say Their Names: Preserving Wilson N.C.’s Slave Pasts reveals the array of documentary evidence available to African-American families searching for their ancestors and all interested in broadening their understanding of Wilson County history.
Say Their Names is on display through the end of the year at Imagination Station — which is reopening September 8!
Imagination Station, which is also (and chiefly) an awesome children’s science museum, is located at 224 Nash Street E, Wilson. Its telephone number is (252) 291-5113. Please support local museums and local history!
Photographs by Janelle Booth Clevinger, Special to Wilson Daily Times, 1 March 2020.
The Community Histories Workshop at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (my alma mater!) will present “Investigating African American Family History” Tuesday, 11 June 2019, 6:00-8:00 PM at The Power House, Rocky Mount Mills, 1151 Falls Road, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, which is 20 miles north of Wilson.
I can’t be there, but wish I could. Y’all let me know what you learn.