Saturday, October 31, 2015

Leon Dunn the Dunn and Chapman Family Griot

Left to right: Leon Dunn, Ruby Dunn Gilmore,
Theodore Dunn
If you want to learn about the Dunn and Chapman family branches of the family. Leon Dunn is the person you want to sit and talk with.  You may want to bring a video recorder and take notes. Mr. Dunn is in his 80s and his mind is very sharp and sound. His niece Paulette went to talk with him about the family history that he could recall for their Dunn family reunion. 

He talked about what he knew and what his father Theodore Dunn passed on to him. Recording your family is very important it is the unwritten history of your family. Everyone has a family member who love to reminisce about "the old day",  and the people who they remember.  At one time we use to be able to say that oral history was often passed down from generation to generation.  Nowadays, it seems like many people in the younger generations has no interest at all in their family history. 

They're to busy with their own lives, work, families, and other interests. By the time they stop and and want to know more about the family history most of the elderly people may not be around anymore.

I could have sit and talk with Mr. Leon for hours. He was recalling events, places and people. Although he didn't know his Native American grandfather Hezekiah. His father passed down stories  to him about Hezekiah. 

Most importantly, Mr. Leon wanted to talk about the family history. Often times some elders in the family doesn't want too talk about the family history. I heard many of them say, "I can't remember". Oral history fill in the gap and help us to learn more about our family and the community they lived in. 

I found Mr. Leon to be a treasure for the Dunn and Chapman families. One of the trades that was past down to him was farming. On any sunny day, you can find him on his tractor tending his crops or harvesting the crops. Although is knees ache him, he don't let it stop him from doing what he love doing. I hope that I can get talk with him to record his family history and preserve it in the oral history collection at Southeastern Louisiana University.