New Years Day

Happy New Year!

My deep appreciation to all who supported Black Wide-Awake in 2021 through likes, comments, corrections, shout-outs, and shares. It was another tough year, but we made it, and Black Wide-Awake’s journey was sweetened by, among other things, the addition of Say Their Names to the Freeman Round House Museum’s permanent exhibition and the outpouring of support for the Lane Street Project. (See my 2021 resolution.)

2022 dawns strangely warm, but gray, with a shape-shifting pandemic still spreading grief and chaos. Still, I’m encouraged by the strength and perseverance of those whose lives I chronicle here. Here’s to a happier New Year!


Some 2021 stats:

 693 posts

 181,021 views (an increase of 5% from 2020)

 75,612 visitors (an increase of 18% and hailing from 145 countries and territories)


Top 5 most popular posts:







Some of my faves (in no order):












Happy New Year!

My deep appreciation to all who supported Black Wide-Awake during the craziness that was 2020.

Black Wide-Awake has been both inspiration and consolation this year as the joys and sorrows of the ancestors lent valuable perspective to my own.

The deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbury, and George Floyd gave urgency to the critical importance of documenting Black Lives. Of calling our people’s names, resurrecting their memory, and ensuring they are never again forgotten. They matter. We matter.

And even as it seemed to bend the world out if its frame, the coronavirus pandemic could not stop virtual connection, and I am grateful for likes, comments, shares, tips, corrections, general feedback, and, especially, supportive new friendships.  Despite all, 2020 is the year that Lane Street Project gained an army.

Here’s to 2021’s journey! I’m glad you’re with me. 


Some 2020 stats:

 660 posts

 172,391 views (an increase of 83% from 2019!!!)

64,139 visitors (from 102 countries and territories)


Top 5 most popular posts:







Some of my favorites (not among the Top 5, and in no order):












Heartbreak Day.

On 27 December 2019, Time magazine published Olivia B. Waxman’s sobering and insightful article on the hiring of slave labor, “The Dark History of New Year’s Day“:

“Americans are likely to think of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as a time to celebrate the fresh start that a new year represents, but there is also a troubling side to the holiday’s history. In the years before the Civil War, the first day of the new year was often a heartbreaking one for enslaved people in the United States.

“In the African-American community, New Year’s Day used to be widely known as “Hiring Day” — or “Heartbreak Day,” as the African-American abolitionist journalist William Cooper Nell described it — because enslaved people spent New Year’s Eve waiting, wondering if their owners were going to rent them out to someone else, thus potentially splitting up their families. The renting out of slave labor was a relatively common practice in the antebellum South, and a profitable practice for white slave owners and hirers.”

Please read the article and revisit these blog posts:

Happy New Year!

My deep appreciation to all who supported Black Wide-Awake in 2019 through likes, comments, shares, tips, corrections, and other feedback. Looking forward to continuing this journey of discovery in 2020!


Some 2019 stats:

 583 posts

 94,174 views (an increase of 11% from 2018)

 36,618 visitors (from 94 countries)


Top 5 most popular posts:

You have never known the cruelties of these people.

507 Church Street.

Shotgun houses restored.

Dr. James A. Battle.

The state of Rountree cemetery.


Some of my favorite finds (not among the Top 5, and in no order):

Dark side of the campus.

An afternoon with Mr. Lathan.

Wilson’s Green Book hotel.

A big occasion in the history of the race in this city.

The brickmasons’ strike(s).

Below the railroad.

Crossing the tracks.

“Times were hard and a poor n*gger had to live”: the death of George Taylor.

Lynching going on, and there are men trying to stand in with the white folks.

Anatomy of a logo.

Cemeteries No. 26: the Alex and Gracey Shaw Williamson cemetery.

Barbara Jones’ daughter Bethany Jones.

Anatomy of a bird’s eye view.

“It is good just to know where you came from.”


Wilson Advance, 3 January 1895.

It’s always hard to trust the ever-hating Wilson Advance. The crowd may have been small, but Wilson’s African-American community celebrated Emancipation Day on January 1st, the day the Emancipation Proclamation took effect in 1863, into the 20th century.