Winter 2015: A Gift to Remember

The latter portion of this year has been interesting and full of changes. My great-grandmother, the glue of my family, passed two days after Thanksgiving, it was difficult completely my final assignments for courses, and I was tired of life particularly work. As a Scrooge, I have an extreme dislike about Christmas. I do not like spending money and as I told my momma, Jesus was the only person to receive gifts on the day of his birth, so how did it extend to buying gifts for everyone? Of course, she laughed without first warning me not to say such things, but I know deep down inside–I am right.

With this being the first Christmas without my great-grandmother, I wanted my gift to my Nana to be special. As a historian, I always prided myself on the family trees that I have constructed; however, I was always disappointed in my lack of knowledge in my own family’s history. It has always been on my to-do list so I decided to compile my family’s history. With a few drinks and my notebook, I began. Then it exploded.

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(Fresh pedicure too–it was my first.)

I was able to go back to 1852, yet found no other records. African American genealogy has it ups and downs. In the end, I learned more about my family than I ever imagined.

Oh and here is the final product.

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My Nana loved it, although it took her a moment to figure it out.  Many of my relatives cherished this tree as well and now I have my hands full with researching their family lines until the spring semester begins.

By the way, I finished with a 4.0.

Until the next post my friends,

Christina

 

 

A Birth Certificate, A Research First in the Flowers Family History

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I have researched the Flowers family for the past three years and never found a birth certificate for any member of this family. Was I surprised?  It was not a required document to be recorded at a black child’s birth. For most African Americans born in the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth century, birth certificates were generally a listing in the family’s Bible. This was also dependent upon where the individual resided, North, South, or Midwest.  I was quite surprised when I found the birth certificate of Herbert Wilson (1907-1962), wife of Hilda Clifford Flowers. Born in Philadelphia, Herbert was the son of Maurice Wilson and Evelina Augustus. His mother was 41 years old and his father was a 43 year old porter.

It is also important, yet odd to note that this was a legitimate birth. I understand why this detailed is included, but I am glad that they removed this box from birth certificates. This is not a huge find, but it is something new and I can say I have found a birth certificate for someone in this family’s tree.

 

Until the next post,

Christina

Meet Elder Lillie Bell McLean, My Great-Grandmother

As 2015 draws to an end, we journey into a new year we leave many memories, both disappointments and accomplishments, behind. About two weeks before Thanksgiving, I received the news that my great-grandmother had fallen ill. If you are a follower of my blog, you know my dream was to spend the summer writing my family’s history with her. My great-grandmother, Lillie Bell or “Bill Buck”, was able to celebrate her 95th birthday on Tuesday and Thanksgiving in her home surrounded by family; however, on 28 November 2015, she passed away. My mother, sisters, and I joined family and friends at her home to comfort one another, I was also able to kiss her goodbye. Her body was still warm and it seemed as if she was simply sleeping. There were so many heart-broken and tear-streaked faces. Watching my great-aunts, my own grandmother, and cousins cry–there are no words to describe this feeling. It hurts, she was the glue in our family, the one everyone turned to and leaned on. I returned from work and school the next week for the wake and funeral and as tradition holds the grandchildren and great-grandchildren sang for their Bill-Buck one last time. She is in no more pain and she lived a full 95 years.  This post is dedicated to my great-grandmother, the matriarch of our family and our Lily in the Valley.

Christina


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I started my family’s history last Christmas. My Nana and I filled in small pieces here and there, yet after a small mishap on a military draft I decided to stop my research. It was my hope to spend next summer with my Nana, great-grandmother, and one of my great-aunts who is the family’s “historian”. I put it off for too long; however, it is not too late.

My great-great grandmother’s parents were Douglas(s) Gilchrist and Dannie (Donnie) Jane Douglas. According to my great-grandmother and her sister’s obituary, Douglas and Dannie had a number of children: Lillie Bell, Rosetta, Viola, Dannie, Mary, Lonnie, and James. This is affirmed through the 1930 Federal Census for the Household of Donnie Gilchrist, Douglas passed away earlier within the same year. The family resided in Stewartsville, Scotland County, North Carolina.

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According to this census, Mary was 12, Vinela (Viola) was 10, Lillie (my great-grandmother) was 7, Rosa was 5, and Foster who was 1 year old. I am unable to locate the 1930 Federal Census record for Douglas and Dannie. From the NC Marriage Index, Douglas and Dannie held their wedding on November 28, 1912. Douglas was 21 years old and Dannie (listed as Jannie) was 18 years old.

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It was within Douglass’ death certificate in which I determined more about my family’s tree. He passed away at the age of 37 from lobar pneumonia on November 2, 1930. He was born on January 3, 1893 in Scotland County, North Carolina and worked as a farmer. His parents–Jasper Gilchrist and Sarah Stockhouse–which lead me to my great-great-great-great grandparents Charles (1852-1925) and Easter (1851-1919) Gilchrist, which lead me to my great-great-great-great-great grandparents–Elbert and Mary Gibson, whom I believe my great-great aunt was named after.

I will be giving my Nana the greatest gift I can this holiday season, her family’s history.

Until the next post,

Christina

 

ELLISON, PASTOR MARY E. Pastor Mary E. Ellison, 94, of New Haven passed away on January 17, 2013. Pastor Ellison was born to the late Douglas Gilchrist and Dannie Jane (Douglas) Gilchrist on June 09, 1918 in Roberson County, NC. She leaves to cherish her memory, son, Michael Jeffery (Donna) of New Haven; sisters, Rev. Lillie B. McClean of NC, Rev. Dr. Rosetta Wheeler Paris of Hamden; granddaughter, Rev. Seesa Harris-Ellison of New Haven; and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. She was predeceased by sister, Mother Viola Blue; and brother, Bishop Dannie Gilchrist. A Celebration of her life will take place on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 9AM at St. Matthews UFWB Church, 400 Dixwell Ave., New Haven, CT. The calling hour will be from 8-9am. Interment will be held at Beaverdale Memorial Park, New Haven, CT. Services by Howard K. Hill Funeral Services, 1287 Chapel St., New Haven, CT 06511. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nhregister/obituary.aspx?n=mary-ellison&pid=162618946#sthash.R3f02e9t.dpuf

Obituary-Fayetteville Observer

Elder Lillie Bell McLean, 95, went to be with the Lord on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at her home in Maxton, NC surrounded by her family. She is survived by her children Eva, Frances, Johnny (Susie), Rose (Lenzie), Ronald, Evera (Dwight), and Gladys. Also to cherish her memories is 1 sister, Rosetta, and 2 sister-in-laws, Ann and Gladys F. She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 53 years, Tommie, her son, Tommie Jr. (Mary) and daughter, Myrtle. She was also preceded in death by 2 sisters, Mary and Viola, and 3 brothers, Dannie, Lonnie, and James. She is survived by 33 grandchildren, 70 great-grandchildren, 5 great-great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and a host of relatives and friends.

Visitation will be held from 3-6 p.m. on Friday, December 4 at Purcell Funeral Home located at 301 N. King Street in Laurinburg, NC. Homegoing Services will be held on Saturday, December 5 at 1 p.m. at The Jesus Loves You Crusade Outreach Ministry Incorporated Church located at 308 Hubert McLean Avenue in Red Springs, NC where Pastor Randy Galbreath will be officiating. Burial will follow at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Laurinburg, NC.

 

 

 

A Letter To Her Friend: Dear Johnnie

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When I find a note one of the members of this family wrote, I always crack a smile. I smile because these letters reveal more than any census record, birth certificate, or newspaper article could ever show–their personality, their humor, and their love and at times hate for people.

In this featured letter, Geraldine Wilson writes to a friend, Johnnie, on February 19, 1976. It reads:

Dear Johnnie,

Perhaps you think by now that I have forgotten you and that I do not tend to keep my promise to write. Such is not the case; meaning, I do intend to write. It is important for me to write to you. I need to let you know how very deeply I appreciated your help. It is important to me to let you know how I came to depend on you. You and John always came on time and always checked to see if I needed anything.

It had taken a long time for me to write to you for a few reasons. I have been coming to Mississippi since 1964. Twice I stayed for almost a year. Other times I stayed for anywhere from a few days to two or three weeks. Sometimes I came two or four times a year. In 1966 my mother first worked in Mississippi for six months. In 1867, she moved to Jackson from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. So, Mississippi became, in this way, my second home. (My real home–where I was born is Philadelphia.) It became my “home” because my mother lived there and because I grew to love the Black people I met in Mississippi. My mother was a special kind of woman-strong, fair, full of humor and a sense of justice and right. She loved people, especially Black people. She especially Black people. She especially loved young people. She and I were very close and my grief at her death is very deep.

I felt that I had to think about a lot of things. Almost without thinking about it I had to wait-wait a while. I also wanted to sit and write a real letter to you. I have not been able to do that until now.

You and John helped me to do a very painful and very important job. I missed you both very much when I returned to New York City. You were truly young soul Brothers in my time of sorrow.

The weather here has been very cold- 0 degrees, 5 degrees, 10 degrees and very windy. Sometimes the wind was up to 75 miles per hour (mph). I had to buy a new pair of boots, lined with wool and rubber bottoms, for the snow. It has snowed three times since I came home. As a matter-of-fact, the Sunday I came home it was snowing. There was three inches of snow at La Guardia Airport in New York City. Wow! To come so far, so fast and had to be greeted by snow is a real take-out.

Take care of yourself. You and John help each other and let John learn to do things by doing them. You watch for when he really needs help. I am looking to hear from you.

Thank you again for everything.

Fondly,

Gerry

 

Until the next post,

Stay safe 4th Precint. Stay safe Chicago. Stay safe Ferguson.
Prayers to the families who lost love ones from police brutality.
#BlackLivesMatter

Christina

A Revisit of Her Father’s Marriages: Harry Flowers and Nancy Sawyer

To read about Harry’s first marriage, click here.


Nancy Sawyer (b. 1873)
Harry Flowers (b. 1845-6)
Children–Chauncey Sawyer Flowers (b.1895), John Flowers (b.1898), Fred Flowers (b.1899), Rachel Helen Flowers (b. 1900), Theodore Flowers (b. 1903), Vincent Flowers (b. 1906), Gladyce (b. 1908), and Hilda Clifford Flowers (b. 1910)

In the 1887 U.S. City Directory for Jacksonville, Florida, there is no spouse listed for Harry Flowers. There were no individuals of interest under Bradley or Sawyer.

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Flowers, Harry F., US Cities and Directories, 1887
The only city directories where Harry is listed with Nancy is the 1902 and 1903 directories. Side Note–The 1902 directory misspells Nancy’s name (Nellie).
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So, I have proof of an actually marriage; however, this leaves me with a huge gap in my research. If there first child was born in 1895, why is there no record of them? So with a leap of faith, I entered Nancy’s information into Family Search and found their marriage record.
Marriage
Three years, it took me three years to find this all because someone spelled the names wrong. Nancy J.P. Sawyer and Henry F. Flowers were married on December 9, 1891 in St. Johns, Florida. This city is outside of Jacksonville, Florida. The last child of Harry and Lydia was born in 1888. What occurred between 1888 and 1891? A divorce is possible, deaths in the family, perhaps an illness caused the death of Lydia, Samuel, and Josie. Still, there is evidence of a Samuel Flowers residing in Florida born around 1875, yet only one child from his previous marriage was listed as a living relative in his obituary in 1928.
Harrisburg Telegraph, 1928
           Harrisburg Telegraph, 1928
 By 1912, Harry resided in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In the 1920 Federal Census, his household included  four of his children—Rachel, Vincent, Gladyce, and Hilda. He worked as a carpenter.
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1920 Federal Census of the Household of Harry Flowers
Within this census record, his martial status is listed as widowed, the same status given on his death certificate. Did Harry marry someone between 1912 and 1920? It could have been a short marriage or maybe the term ‘divorce’ brought shame or embarrassment. With his second marriage ending in a divorce, Harry’s first marriage may have left him widowed and he identified more with that martial status then listing a divorce. At this point, it is all speculations and assumptions.
Again, answers produce more questions. One day I will solve the mysteries within this family’s history, but for now I have to go to bed.
Christina

Want to Start Researching Your Own Family’s History? Here are Some Tips

Family Tree. AncestryA Piece of the Flowers’ Family Tree

I get this question a lot, so hopefully I can help someone out.

Before I share some tips, let me give you a bit of my genealogical research background.

I have my B.A. in history and graduated last May. I have under my belt a semester of graduate courses and will be starting a new graduate program in a few weeks. Side note: I am ready to start school again.

As for the Flowers research, it began in January 2012. So for about three years I have been researching this family’s legacy focusing on Rachel Flowers Ellerbee (b. 1900 d. 1988), the first African American student to graduate from my alma mater. She enrolled at the institution in 1916 graduating in 1918. I was curious not only about Rachel, but her family, which led to this research. I started the Flowers family tree only knowing the name of Rachel’s father, brother, who also attended the institution, and that she resided in Boiling Springs. This project exploded into a 72 person family tree with over 220 records, 200 newspaper articles, and a handful of photos (~20). Now my research does extend beyond the Flowers, I started to research the ancestry of assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers, civil rights pioneer Irene Amos Morgan, the first four international students to attend Messiah College, and most importantly, my own family research.

With all of that, this is what I learned along the way.

  1. Just start: Do not debate with yourself or keep pushing it off to the next week, month, or year. Just start! Make the commitment to research your own family’s history or any family’s history (spouse, friend, or a historical trailblazer). You can do it while watching your favorite Law and Order: SVU episode or devote twenty minutes during breakfast, after dinner, or before you go to bed. It does not matter, just start researching.
  2. Get a journal/notebook: Write! Write! Write! Start by writing down what you know, who you know, and how you know this.
    1. What you know? Marriage years, dates, etc.
    2. Who you know? Build a tree and fill in the basics–name (maiden name), birth year, and death year. Any spouses? Siblings? Children?
    3. How do you know? What relative did you learn this information from? It does make a different if you got this from the family “historian” or the aunt who gossips a lot (but she is a valuable resource as well!).
    4. Use this journal to write notes, record progress, and to process what you found. Write down your questions and potential leads. A journal and a nice gel pen are great inexpensive resources.
  3. To pay for Ancestry or to not pay for Ancestry? So let me break this down for you.
    Ancestry.com: This website is a great resource; however, for the most part of my research I did not have to pay for it. The institution I did the research for funded it. When I left, I decided not to pay for Ancestry, instead I used other resources. Again it is a great resource, with indexing that blows my mind. It is innovative, easy to navigate, and provides tree “hints” that pulls up records that potentially include the person you may be researching or linking you to researchers who are researching the same family (potential kin). With all this being said, these great tools come with a price. If you can afford Ancestry.com, go for it! If you cannot, no worries, there are great resources still out there.
  4. So if I do not want to use Ancestry.com? Well, the great thing is Ancestry.com is not the only resource you can use. FamilySearch is as equally as great and does, yes, have some databases that are not on Ancestry.com. You can create an account for FREE and create a family tree the same way you could on Ancestry.com. There is a bit of indexing although it is not as detailed as Ancestry, but you can zoom in and download the records as well.

My verdict: Give Ancestry.com a free 7-day trial. Choose a week where you know you have a great amount of free time. And move to FamilySearch.org. You can still upkeep your tree on Ancestry with no cost and the end of your membership does not mean your records or tree will be removed. It is still there.

Just a few thoughts I had. I am no expert, but I will say if you are conducting African American genealogy it is a bit different.

  • Know that you will rarely be able to find anything before the 1870 Federal Census and even that is a hit or miss.
  • Focus on state censuses. The earliest census I found for the Flowers family comes from a state not federal mandated census.
  • There surname does not automatically equate to their master’s surname; however, it can. Again, hit or miss.
  • Tracing a family back to slavery is difficult. With the Flowers, I have pinned down a location for Rachel’s father’s slave roots for he left a court statement about his early life which provided me with a lead. I was lucky to find that information.
  • Also search the Freedman’s Bureau, but also help with the indexing of the Freedman’s Bureau Project.
  • Search newspapers archives. If you at a college, take advantage of your library’s databases or use newspaper databases archives.
  • Go to your grandparents or eldest relative house. Look through photo albums, read obituary, take notes, and listen to your elder’s stories.

Last, but not least, ask for help. There are researchers and bloggers who are willing to answer any questions, including myself. And believe it or not I had to request help from many historians and genealogists.

Get started and good luck on your journey!

Until the next post,

Christina

African American Family Records From Era of Slavery to be Available Free Online

GOOD BLACK NEWS

Millions of African Americans will soon be able to trace their families through the era of slavery, some to the countries from which their ancestors were snatched, thanks to a new and free online service that is digitizing a huge cache of federal records for the first time.

Handwritten records collecting information on newly freed slaves that were compiled just after the civil war will be available for easy searches through a new website, it was announced on Friday.

The records belong to the Freedmen’s Bureau, an administrative body created by Congress in 1865 to assist slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia transition into free citizenship.

Before that time, slaves were legally regarded as property in the US and their names were not officially documented. They often appeared only as dash marks – even on their owners’ records.

African Americans trying to trace family history today…

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The Biography of Charles Albert Tindley

Charles Tindley.

Since late January, I have been attending a local AME church in Boston and being the non-churchgoing person, I have to say I enjoy this time of fellowship in my week. As a historian, I greatly appreciate learning about black history through my pastor’s sermons. This week he began with the hymn “Stand By Me” by Charles Albert Tindley.

1 When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the world is tossing me
Like a ship upon the sea,
Thou Who rulest wind and water,
Stand by me (stand by me).

2 In the midst of tribulation,
Stand by me (stand by me);
In the midst of tribulation,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the hosts of hell assail,
And my strength begins to fail,
Thou Who never lost a battle,
Stand by me (stand by me).

3 In the midst of faults and failures,
Stand by me (stand by me);
In the midst of faults and failures,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When I do the best I can,
And my friends misunderstand,
Thou Who knowest all about me,
Stand by me (stand by me).

4 In the midst of persecution,
Stand by me (stand by me);
In the midst of persecution,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When my foes in battle array
Undertake to stop my way,
Thou Who savèd Paul and Silas,
Stand by me (stand by me).

5 When I’m growing old and feeble,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When I’m growing old and feeble,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When my life becomes a burden,
And I’m nearing chilly Jordan,
O Thou “Lily of the Valley,”
Stand by me (stand by me).

I had never heard of Tindley, the “Father of Gospel Music,” so I decided to explore his biography. 

His Life

Born in 1851 to an enslaved father, Albert Tindley, and a free mother, Hester Miller Tindley, Charles Albert Tindley spent his childhood on a rural farm in Berlin, Maryland. Despite his status as free, Tindley could not escape the hardships of being black in America in the mid- to late nineteenth century. . When he became old enough to work, he was hired out to work with slaves although other sources stated that he was hired to work in a Quaker community. Under the law, it was illegal for Tindley to receive any education; however,  the law had no effect on his eager mind. Unable to receive any schooling, Tindley simply taught himself how to read and write.

Now, there is not a great amount of information pertaining to Tindley’s early life. The archival record for enslaved individuals is very slim. From the time Tindley was ten until he was 14, the nation was at war. Following the war, he remained in Maryland where he married Daisy Henry. Together the newlywed couple migrated to Philadelphia in hopes of a better future. I was unable to locate any census records documenting the family in the City of Brotherly Love in 1870, 1880, or 1900. Sources state that Tindley supported his wife and three children by becoming a janitor at Calvary Methodist. Sadly, two of his children passed away in 1882 and 1909. Hester died on February 20, 1882 in Philadelphia at the age of one year old. Her death was caused by croup pneumonia.

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On December 27, 1909, their second daughter, Irene, passed away at the age of 13 from tuberculosis.

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Despite the death of his first child, Tindley remained a man of faith seeking to become a minister. Before pursuing his degree, Tindley was the leading pastor in the Delaware Valley and was appointed a Presiding Elder of the AME in 1900.While working at the church, he enrolled in theology classes, learned Greek, and studied Hebrew with a local Rabbi. After finishing his courses in 1902, Tindley presided over the same church he use to clean. He ministered at the church for thirty years increasing the church’s congregation from 200 members to nearly ten thousand members. He quickly gain prominence as a leading pastor in Philadelphia not only due to his powerful voice, but his unique preaching style. His preaching reflected his background  a gospel singer and writer, you know his sermons were on point.

Reverend Tindley as the outstanding Negro in the city. Reverend Tindley was called by the mayor in everything. He was the spokesman for the blacks at that time. He played a leading role throughout the city, no question about that. Not only in the city, but Reverend Tindley was known nationwide because of his ability to speak. He was an outstanding orator.

John Summers
Ralph H. Jones, Charles Albert Tindley, (Nashville, Abington, 1982), p 13

His preaching was a reflection of his congregation. He spoke of the injustices against blacks and the joy that was to come once they reached the Promised Land, incorporating their story with God’s purpose in familiar and newly written hymns. Surprisingly, Tindley was musically illiterate, yet he published forty six gospel songs  in his lifetime influencing artists, musical genres, and even a movement. His “I’ll Overcome Someday” set the foundation for “We Shall Overcome.” His “Stand By Me” inspired Ben E. King’s song under the same title.

Following his death, his church was renamed Tindley Temple United Methodist Church. Services continue to be held at this church.

Until the next post,

Christina

 

 

His Name Was Gordon: The Man Behind One of the Nation’s Most Iconic Photos

On Monday night I was up until 11:30 pm watching Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People on PBS. It was not a wise move given my morning job; however, I am an avid fan of documentaries and this one quickly placed itself in my top ten list of outstanding films. I was captivated from the beginning until the end. I learned that Frederick Douglass was the most photographed American of the 19th Century and Sojourner Truth used photography to support herself by selling and even wearing her own portraits. This film takes you on a journey from slavery to the present day focusing on the emergence of blacks in photography, what these images portrayed, the stereotypes that were brought forth, and the rise of black photographers along with their missions and passion behind photography.

Trailer

As the film progressed, the photographers (historians, if you asked me) began to interpret the photo of a man named Gordon. This image was published in Harper’s Weekly in 1864 and highly circulated among abolitionist groups.  have seen the image countless times in American history books. In fact, if you google the term ‘slave’ or ‘slavery’ multiple images of Gordon appears. He sits with his back to the camera, his head turned to the photo’s left, and his hand posed, yet rested on his hip. In full view is Gordon’s back marred with keloids (raised scars) from brutal whippings.

Minolta DSC

So why am I focusing on Gordon? Because this documentary made me aware of one simple thing that I failed to notice before–his name, Gordon.

Who was Gordon?

Gordon was an escaped slave from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In the fall of 1862, he was severely beaten by his overseer, who was later discharged by his owner, spending the next few months recovering from his wounds. This was according to one source; however, I speculate the scars came from countless beatings. It was during this time in which Gordon devised a plan to enslavement. In March 1863, he fled towards the Mississippi River rubbing onions on his body to distract the hunting dogs chasing after him. Ten days later he reached Union soldiers stationed in the city. At this camp, Gordon enlisted in the Union army and it was during his medical examination where military doctors took note of the scars covering his back. Photographer William D. McPherson and his assistant Oliver Gordon were present as well and asked Gordon to pose for a picture to show the nation the harsh treatment he received.

gordonzz

The original photograph of this runaway slave named Gordon was taken in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he was being treated by Union medical staff prior to his enlistment in a Yankee regiment of Colored Troops. This image, showing the severe scarring on Gordon’s back-the result from repeated whippings by his master-was engraved for the July 4, 1863, issue of Harper’s Weekly. Here was visual proof of abolitionists’ claims of the cruelties of slavery, especially those of Harriet Beecher Stowe in her best-selling book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Gordon’s image was widely copied and circulated as a carte de visite, much as today’s trading cards, by photography houses throughout the North. The copy carte de visite displayed here is the only existing version known to have been produced by the Mathew Brady Studio.

National Portrait Gallery

This image of Gordon gained popularity amongst abolitionist groups and newspapers representing the “indictment of slavery”.

This Card Photography should be multiplied by 100,000, and scattered over the States. It tells the story in a way that even Mrs. Stowe can not approach, because it tells the story to the eye.

The New York Independent

On July 4, 1863, Harper’s Weekly published the image within the article, “A Typical Image”, alongside two other portraits of Gordon. As the film noted, these images showed the transformation of the slave into a man, which would be completely wiped out as a result of Jim Crow. Gordon went on to serve within the United States Colored Infantry during the American Civil War fighting against Confederate soldiers. Sources debated which troop he fought within as well as his role in the war. Without his last name, I could not search for his enlistment record, but what scholars do know is that he enlisted. His image became a representation of the trials of the slave in America holding a significant impact even today. May his name be known and remembered.

Until the next post,

Christina


Sources:

http://abhmuseum.org/2013/07/the-scourged-back-how-runaway-slave-and-soldier-private-gordon-changed-history/

http://npgportraits.si.edu/eMuseumNPG/code/emuseum.asp?rawsearch=ObjectID/,/is/,/93273/,/false/,/false&newprofile=CAP&newstyle=single

Reintroducing the Flowers Family

If you are new to this blog, you might be wondering, Who are the Flowers?. Since 2012, I have been conducting research on this family’s history beginning with Rachel Helen Flowers, the first African American student to attend my alma mater. Uncovering her biography led to an even greater story of her family’s vast and grand history in America through their strong faith and resilience. There are certain aspects of the family I will never learn about and I have come to peace with this. There are certain aspects of the family I have learned about that I will not share out of respect which is a personal decision. Regardless of what I know, do not know, and what I will never tale, there is a something about this research that has always bothered me—I have not found a living descendant of the Flowers family. I have share a great amount of their story and history, yet the reality is there are some stories and histories I can only learn through a family member. My goal by the end of the summer is to meet with a Flowers family member and together we will write the Flowers’ story. Of course, if disregard my research, I will of course respect their decision and not continue the research at all, but hopefully that will not happen. So, with a lighter schedule due to a lack of coursework this semester, I will take on the biggest challenge in my research locating a living descendant.

Please learn more about this family’s legacy through this link here.

Hope you enjoy the journey,

Christina