Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mary Carter Was a Trail blazer in Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Mary Carter
Mary Carter served as temporary District 4 alderwoman since Nov. 1984.  She was appointed by the Board of Aldermen to serve in place of her late husband, G.T. Carter when he died in November.  Mrs. Carter was Ponchatoula resident since 1951. Her main goals were to improve city streets and drainage, cooperate with the council, advocate good, sound business principles and help city residents.

Mrs. Carter was a retired economic teacher,. She worked at Perrin Junior High School from 1951 to 1969 and then she taught at Ponchatoula High School until 1974. Mrs. Carter is a graduate of Hammond High School and Southern University in Baton Rouge. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in vocational home economics in 1951 and later worked toward a master's degree in home economics at the same university.

She was the mother of four children: Attorney Gideon T. Carter III, Hammond; Gwendolyn Renee Carter, R.N., New Orleans; Genor and Gemetri Carter, students in Baton Rouge. I was delighted to sit and talk with Gwendolyn about her parents.  Gwen and her family reminded me of the King family. Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King and his four children fought for equality and justice for the oppressed and so did the Carter family of Ponchatoula, Louisiana 

I sit across the table from her listening her talk about what her parent went through and the racism they faced tried to stand up for justice and seeking a quality of education for African-American children. She recalled some of the meetings that took place in her home. She remembered her father  Gideon Carter talking to A.Z. Young and other prominent African American men and women. 

I can't wait to meet and talk with Gwen again. The rich history of her family sure be recorded and documented,  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Maternal Haplogroup of Emma Vining Richardson Williams

Uncle Henry taking 23 and Me DNA
with Karran Harper Royal
A few weeks back my Uncle Henry Harrell took the 23 and Me DNA test with one of my relatives Karran Harper Royal. His Maternal Haplogroup revealed that he and our family descend from a  long line of women that traced back to eastern Africa over 150, 000 years ago. His maternal haplogroup can reveal the path followed by women of his maternal line.  That would be his mother Josephine Richardson Harrell, her mother Emma Vining Richardson Williams,  Emma's mother Rosa Hart and Rosa's mother Celia Hart and so on.

His maternal line stems from a branch of L3 called L3f. Haplogroup L3f is an old offshot that traces back to a woman who likely lived nearly 46,000 years ago.  Members of L3f live in a wide distribution across the Sahal belt of Africa, a dry savanna region on the southern fringes of the Sahara  Desert, as well as in the northern regions of the Central African rainforest. 

Between 20,000 and 30,000 years ago, L3f gave rise to two daughter haplogroup, L3f1 and L3f2. L3f1 appears to have arisen in eastern Africa and moved westward befor the peack of the Ice Age about 20,000 years ago, when the Sahara Desert expanded and rendered much of the northern part of the continent uninjabitable. Today the haplogroup is commonly found among the Yoruba adn Fulbe population of western Africa, and in the African-Americans who are descended from them. 
His maternal haplogroup, L3f1b, traces back to woman who lived approximately 11,000 years ago. That's nealy 460 genearations ago. In 2003 I took the African Ancestry DNA test that connected by maternal lineage to Niger, West Africa. Tracing my maternal lineage, my Uncle Henry and I share the same maternal grandmother. 

23 and Me revealed the DNA lineage for Emma Vining her maternal ancestors and her offsprings. Her children Josephine, Alexander, Rosabell, Alma, Ethel, Dorothy, Jimmy and Arthur can learn a lot about their maternal lineage from my Uncle Henry's DNA test. Also a warmhearted thank you to Karran for giving my family this wonderful gift. I hope everyone in my family appreicate this knowledge as much as I do.  This DNA test confirmed that my mother and her maternal lineage has lineage to the people of the Sahel Desert. 

Antoinette Harrell in Ingall, West Africa
In 2003 I traveled to Niger, West Africa to met the Tuareg people. I saw people that look just like my family members.  This one woman looked so much like my mother, I couldn't help but cry because I knew this was my people. A day that I waited for has finally come true. I had the opportunity to travel to several regions in Niger. The hair texture, skins tones, and featured reminded me of so many people including my Uncle Henry.  Any genealogist who ancestors were slaves want to know where their ancestors orginated from. 

My research hit a brickwall in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana.  My traced my mother maternal lineage back by four generations. At that point I could go in further in research. Turning to DNA was my only option if I wanted to learn more about the maternal lineage. Matter of fact my mother only knew her grandmother Emma, she knew nothing about Emma's mother Rosa Hart. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dr. Antoinette Harrell Analyzing Plantation Records on

Dr. Antoinette Harrell reviewing records on a plantation
Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.
Genealogists and family historians understand the terminology leaving no stone unturned. I'm continually looking for new records that have clues for genealogy and historical research anywhere I can find any paper or documents with someone's name, date and location. 

We are familiar with marriage records, death records, school records, and so on. But finding new records can be informative, and rewarding when you are researching. New genealogical and historical resources  can provide more details about the lives of our ancestors and our family history.  Just recently I went to a plantation in Louisiana to analyzing new records. The records that I analyzed were receipts records from the commissary store on the plantation. Some of the records were burned and couldn't be saved. A plantation in the Mississippi Delta recently demolished a commissary store. I hope that all the records were removed from the commissary store.  Sometimes the family who owns the plantation will keep the records. Others will donate them to a university or State Archives.

Most people in America assume that all African-American people left the plantations after the    Emancipation Proclamation was signed.  Some newly freed enslaved Africans stayed on the plantation, and some moved on other plantations because they didn't have anywhere to go.  Many former slaves were too old and tired to move. They felt  they were better off staying on the plantation where they would have shelter and food.

In 1865, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land often called the Freedmen's Bureau was created at the end of the Civil War to supervise relief efforts including, health care, education, food and clothing, refugee camps, employment, labor contracts, and the legalization of African-American marriages.

Sharecropping was created out of the Freedmen Bureau Contracts. The landowner rented land to the the former slaves in return for a portion of their crops. Sharecropping practices took place for decades.  Many types of agreements still exist to this very day.   Many former slaves who  couldn't read or write were taken advantage of by the landowner. They were forced to stay and work on the plantation in a new form of slavery called peonage and involuntary servitude. Thousands had to flee for their lives sometimes leaving their family behind.

I've been on several plantation were people still live, and some people still work on the plantation. There is one plantation in Mississippi that I visited and had the opportunity to look in the records. I saw the names of the people who worked on the plantation, how many pounds of cotton they picked. There were some photographs of African-Americans on the plantations in the early 40s to the 70s. 

When we have exhausted our search in our homes, libraries and internet database such as Ancestry, Family Search, Ancestry and Cyndi's List any other genealogy sites that could be helpful. There are new genealogy resources made available every day that the universities, State Archives, and on genealogy sites.

Commissary Store Records
Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.
Educating individuals who had a rich photograph collections, funeral obituary programs, church records,  and other vital records that can be helpful to genealogy is essential. Every genealogy or family historian whose ancestors were held as slaves on a plantation would like to find records about their ancestors.

On the commissionary store receipts you will find the name of the person who lived and worked on the plantation. The date and year,  the name of the store, and what the person purchased and the price they paid for the items.  Some of ther receipts proved how long the person worked on the plantation and how long they purchased items from the store.

There were some payroll and medical records in the boxes too.  As long as I have been conducting research, I wish I could find other records for ancestors Robert Harrell,  Carrie Richardson or Frank Vining. They were on the Harrell, Richardson and Vining Plantations in East Florida Parishes, Louisiana

Friday, September 29, 2017

Why Do I Research and Document African-American History in the East Florida Parishes, Louisiana?

Dr. Antoinette Harrell researching at the Attala Library
Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr. 
Growing up as a young girl who enjoyed reading books and magazines, under the oak tree on the family place of my maternal grandparents in Amite, Louisiana on a hot summer day with a cool drink of water from the water well was a beautiful day for me. Most of the books I read came from the school library or school textbooks.  Reading history and science books or other educational materials related to the two subjects were my first choice.  I consisently paid attention to the illustrations in the books, and none of them were of African American descent. The illustrations told me that the characters were not of people of color.  It gave me a feeling that something wasn't  correct about these pictures.  If I didn't know that African American people made contributions and help to build the society, state, and nation I live in could have been devastating to me as a child with an impressionable mind. 

I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1972 with my family. It didn't get any better in junior high school either. Colton Junior High was in the middle of ingregation and fights between African Americans and Caucasins were high.   A little skinny country girl moving to the big city with my mother and three brothers was a new experience for all of us.  My brothers Reginald, Thomas, Micheal, and I  didn't  know what to expect that summer. I had just finished sixth grade at West Side Elementary School in the Town of Amite and was promoted to the seventh grade. I am the oldest out of my three siblings.  All  three attended Marie Couvent Elementary School in the seventh ward on Pauger Street.

It was the summer of 1972 that my mother signed my brothers and me up for summer camp at what they called Tambourine and Fan. The camp director's name was Jerome Smith.  On the first day of camp, my brothers and I didn't know what to expect. We just did what the camp leaders told us.  I remember before going to our camp rooms, we had to go through our little camp prep chant with Jerome. Once we got to our camp rooms there were books, materials, posters, and black history eduational disussions about African-American pioneers and trailblazers. People like Harriet Tubman,
Freddrick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King and others. 

At the camp, I got to read books about people that looked like me.  Back home in Amite, Louisiana,  I remember my mom purchased a set of encyclopedia for her youngest sister who was attending college and her four children. She also bought the Negro Heritage books. I'll never forget the orange set of books. I still have them to this day. 
I remember flipping through the pages with happiest in my eyes. Page after page, the people looked just like me. Although I was hoping to find something about my family or people in the community that I knew.  Saddened by the fact that I couldn't  find them in the index.  As I grew older and embraced the study of genealogy it was my opportunity to change things. I had researched and collected enough information about my family and the community they live in to write and record my own story and to educate others about their history and the legacy they left.

African American people like my grandfather Jasper Harrell, Sr., who took his old pick truck to pick up people at no charge and took them to the voting polls.  Robert "Free Bob" Vernon who donated land for Mt. Canaan Church and School.  Or African American men in Tangipahoa who dreamed and  had great admiration to give African-American children in the parish a right to education during Reconstruction in Tangipahoa Parish. 

\After living in New Orleans for thirty-four years and returning to the same parish my ancestors once lived, I wanted to come back to make a difference by researching and documenting their history and rich legacies. I wanted to conduct oral interviews and record the stories of family members and people who live in the community. I wanted to look at photographs and encourage others to preserve their family history and heirlooms. 

Educating the descentandants of African-American people who make up the fabric of the parish and community. While designing a blueprint that will help foster pride and dignity to people who may not know the contributions or the names of their ancestors. Writing their names and recording their story because it's important to me and I know it's important to the people who are the descendants of such notable individuals who stood tall in the face of adversary and triumphs. And the people who were determined to make a better life for themselves. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Celebration of Life for Samuel Perry, Sr.

Samuel Perry, Sr.
Samuel Perry, was called home by God the Father on Friday, September 14, 2017. He was 61 years old. He was preceded in death by his parents. James & Gertrude Dunn Perry: siblings, Larry Perry and Christy Francis;  and in laws, Helen in laws, Helen and Herman Robinson, Sr.

Samuel was native New Orleanian and graduate of Walter L. Cohen High School. He furthered his education at Jackson State University. He worked for the United States Postal Service for over 25 years.

Samuel had an intimate relationship with God and knew Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior. He was baptized at Prayer Tower COGIC. In his lifetime, be also attended Second Baptist (6th District), Mount Carmel MBC, and Lakeview Christian Center.

Samuel was loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friends. He is mourned by his wife of 32 years, Jeanette Perry; their 3 children, Jessica Perry, Samuel Perry, Jr. and James Perry; siblings Willie Perry, Barbara (Joe) Cheatham, and Eddie (Carolyn) Chapman; brother-in-law Theodore Francis, all residing in the New Orleans area. He is also mourned by nieces: Courtney (Rozier), Hannah, Rebecca, Sarah, Joseph, Elijah (Vicky), Christopher, Jade, Desmond, Candice; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Source: Obituary Program for Samuel Perry

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tishann Woods Deemer Was a Midwife in Clinton, Louisiana

Tishann Woods Deemer
Photo Courtesy of Gwendolyn R. Carter
Tishann was born in 1853 in Clinton, Louisiana  in a small community called Blairtown. She passed away in Hammond, Louisiana in 1947. She met and married  Richard Deemer  in 1872, and to their union the following children were born; Sarah, Richard, Edward, and Ezecial. Her husband Richard was born in 1840 and died on February 25, 1923 in Blairtown, East Feliciana, Louisiana. 

Oral history was passed down to her great granddaugher Gwendolyn R. Carter.  Gwendoyln said that she was told that  her great-grandmother Tishann was a midwife in Clinton, Louisiana. 

Tishann was the grandmother of Mary Deemer Carter of Ponchatoula, Louisiana. Mary Deemer Carter was the wife of Gideon T. Carter a trailblazer in Ponchatoula, Louisiana.  Of course I googled her name to find out if any information was recorded about her as a midwife and I couldn't find any information about her. I search the search engines for information on Mandy Jones Wheat who was a midwife in Tangipahoa Parish and I couldn't find anything on her as well. Many midwives were also herbalist and for the most part they administered the only health care African-American people received in rural communities. I hope that we will do a better at recording the history that was passed down to us about the midwives. After all they are the ones who delivered many babies, both African- Americans and Caucasian people.

Gwendolyn stated she was told that Tishann father was the plantation owner and he asked the local doctor to allow Tishann to work with him to learn about about medical care. When Tishann's  mother Sarah Green married a man with the last name Woods, Tishaan took on that name, although they knew that her father was the plantation owner.

Celebration of Life for Earl Lee Richardson, Sr.

Alpha: May 26, 1948.  
Omega: September 17, 2017
Earl Lee Richardson, Sr was born on May 26, 1948, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to the late Supt. Thomas Alexander Richardson and the late Missionary Melisa Wheat Richardson. He was the 9th child of nine brothers and one sister. Earl was reared in a Chrisitan home and was united in fellowship at the an early age at Gordon/Richardson Temple of Deliverance COGIC, (formerly Gordon Chapel) under the leadership of the late Supt. Alexander Richardson, and after his passing under the leadership of the late Dr. Samuel Richardson, and up until his death under the leadershp of Supt. Emmitt N. Richardson, Sr. Earl was united in Holy Matrimony to Dianne Richardson, on December 23, 1995.

Earl was educated in the Tangipahoa Parish School System, and graduated from Westside High School in 1966. He recieved his Mortuary of Science Degre from the Common Weath College of Scinece in Houston, TX, in 1967. Upon graduation, he joined his father in the family business where he worked and managed Richardon Funeral Home, Inc., until his demise. He retired from the Tangipahoa Parish School System after serving as a bus driver fro over thirty years. 

The final chapter of the Book of Life for Earl Lee Richardson, Sr., has been completed. He leave to cherish his memories: His devoted wife: Dianne Harrell Richardson, Amite: His children: Earl Richardson, Jr., (Joselyn) of Natalbany, LA., Valarie Richarson of Denham Springs, LA, Shareka Muse of Independence, LA, Monica Holden-Irving, (Deitrich)  of Baton Rouge, LA, Brandon Richardson of Magnolia, AK; his stepchildren Teresa Perry of Ponchatoula, LA., Shelisa Perry-English (Tony) of Ponchatoula, LA., and Dalton Harrell  (Danyatta) of Fort Worth, TX; a granddaugher who he reared Daja Richardson, a host of grandchildren, and two great grandchildren; two brothers: Supt Emmitt N. Richardson, Sr., (Carolyn) of Kenner, LA, and Darnell Richardon (Gayle) of Hammond, LA; five brothers-in-law, Johnny Harrell, and Kenner Harrell, Amite, LA., Michael Zanders (LaShaunda) of Tickfaw, Ellis Zanders of Roseland, and Gerald Zanders of Independence, LA; eleven sisters-in-laws: Supervisor Dorothy J. Richardson of Amite, LA., Betty Richardson of Amite, LA, Collen East (Alford) of Kenner, LA., Genoria Courney (Charles) of Roseland, Evelyn Holden of Amite, LA, Katie Cutrer (Jimme) of Roseland, LA, Patty Dawson of Wilmer, LA, Debra Davis, Independence, LA, Linda Harold (Reginald) of Los Angeles, CA, Brenda Harrell and Ada Harrell of Amite, LA; One God-son, Emmitt Richardson, Jr. of Kenner, LA; two God-daugthers, Shaketia Cutrer-Addison of Roseland, LA adn Evelyn Davis (Chris) of Houston, TX; a God-brother and God-sister, Rev. Jeremiah and Faye Brumfield, a houst of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Supt. Thomas Alexander Richardson and the late Missionary Melisa Wheat Richardson, his sister, Helenstine Richardson Williams, six brothers; Thomas Richardson, Sr., Walter Richardson, Sr., Alex Richardson, Jr., Supt. Samuel Richardson, Elder Nathaniel Richardson, Sr., and Deacon Joseph Richardson; his mother-in-law, Minnie C. Harrell, one grandchild, Daniel Jamal Harrell, three brothers-in-law; Lawerence (Buster Dyson, Ellis Milton Harrell, and Rober Harrell, and one sister-in-law, Mary (Dena) Robertson.