I had the honor of attending the 40th AAHGS Conference in Hyattsville, Maryland on October 10-12, 2019. Although I have been busy, this conference and the people attending have been amazing. I have been able to reconnect with some people that I met at last year’s conference, introduce myself to people that I follow on social media, and meet new genealogy friends. I also got a chance to stop by the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage lineage society table and speak with the founder and president, Dr. Evelyn McDowell. I have been a member for a couple of years now, and it’s always good to see and talk with her (click HERE to read more about my membership). I knew today would be an even longer and busier day than yesterday, so I had good intentions of going to bed at a reasonable time. But I went to bed later than I wanted because I wanted to write out a recap of day one for the AAHGS Blog while it was fresh on my mind.
I got a good night’s sleep and was able to get up this morning and make it to the Ancestral Libation in time to get a good seat. An Ancestral Libation is an African tradition of pouring of a liquid in memory of the dead. Sister Martha led the attendees in the song Remember Me before the actual ancestral libation in honor of our deceased ancestors. The plenary session was next with speaker Paul Heinegg. He spoke on African Americans in Colonial Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Delaware. Most of his research has come from court records of both enslaved people and free people of color. His research showed how enslaved people, free people of color, and white people intermingled through out the colonies in the 1600s and 1700s.
There were 18 break out sessions to choose from today. Topics included DNA, genealogy methodology, Genealogy Proof Standard, the Founding of AAHGS, researching enslaved ancestors, and BCG Certification. Some of the today’s presenters were LaBrenda Garrett- Nelson, Dr. Shelley Murphy, Shannon Christmas, Dr. Elizabeth Lewis-Clark, Leslie Anderson, Thom Reed, and Karen Burney.
Today’s luncheon included speaker Dr. Karsonya Wise-Whitehead also known as the Black Mommy Activist. She spoke about the stories she has collected from people from Baltimore, also known as the Black Butterfly. These were stories that she had collected for her new book, I Speak For the Unforgotten. Also during the luncheon there was a panel discussion with all of the 2019 International AAHGS Book Award winners.
Instead of dinner with a speaker on Friday night, there was a twilight tour. The twilight tour of DC included: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial; Lincoln Memorial; Vietnam Memorial; Korean Memorial; The White House; Jefferson Memorial; US Capitol Building; Washington Monument; and US Capitol Reflecting Pool given by an experienced professional licensed tour guide driver. I didn’t participate in the twilight tour, but it was nice that the conference offered something like that.
Sessions I attended:
- The Importance of Historical Context in Meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard presented by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson
- Inheritance and Slave Status presented by Roland Barksdale-Hall
- Researching Institutional Slavery presented by Leslie Anderson
- BCG Certification presented by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson
- Documenting the Founding of AAHGS presented by Dr. Elizabeth Clark-Lewis, AAHGS Founder
To read Part 1 click HERE