Monday, April 24, 2017

Teach Kids to Get Involved with Community Issues and Politics

Left to right
State Representative Tracie Davis, Connor LaCoste, State Rep
Cynthia A. Stafford, Chase LaCoste
Children are eager to learn new things and want to get involved. Teaching them to respect the environment, getting involved with causes at school, or community causes.  It's a great way to teach them how to stand up for their rights and learn the due process. Learning about house bills, resolutions, and the three branches of the U.S government will help them to learn about the laws and democracy in the United States as well as the; injustices that plagued and threaten that democracy. 

My grandson Connor often talks Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Thurgood Marshall. He said that Thurgood Marshall is his hero and that if he was still living he would hire him in a minute to represent him if ever he had to appear before any court in the U.S.  He often points out that Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court Judge. He went directly to google to learn about the Clarence Thomas who, succeeded Thurgood Marshall. When he asked me the question about Clarence Thomas, I informed him that the two can't be compared. 

Often times when there is political, business, town hall, are community meetings I must attend, I take them along with me to learn and use this time as a classroom to educate them. Last week I had to attend the sessions of the Legislature at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee. I took my two grandsons with me, they witness how laws are passed. It was quite and experience for them. They met several Florida Senators and State Representatives. They also met the Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi and the boys
They had direct invitations to the office of State Representative Cynthia A. Stafford a Democratic member of Florida House of Representatives, representing the 109th District which includes northeastern Miami-Dade County, Senator Daryl Rouson District #70, and State Attorney Pam Bondi. They were given strong words of encouragement from the elected officials about setting goals and to work hard to achieve those goals. 

I find them talking about the three branches of government and discussing issues that are important to them. Especially issues that pertain to kids.  It's never too early to teach them how congress affects their lives and their future. Connor wants to be a voice an advocate for seat belts and cameras on all Tangipahoa Parish School buses. You can follow him on;

My granddaughter Jo'elle love drawing and art. She creates eye-catching posters with a powerful message for the causes she believes in and, stands up for. Her poster was signed by the Attorney General and Senator. The boys enjoy taking photographs. They both felt like little photographers and like the idea that they were treated like professional photographers.
Florida Senator Daryl Rouson

Chase enjoys taking photographs and getting involved with critical discussions on politics, laws, and issues. Now, before I can ask the question, "who want to come with me?" All hands are in the air to go come along.  I think my grandson Carter has expressed interest in becoming an actor in his mind. Politics is not on his agenda. Each one of them has talents, gifts, and skills that must be nurtured. 

In celebration of Earth Day, Jo'elle created posters to attend a march in New Orleans. Her poster made a powerful statement about our planet earth. It was the first march and protest for the boys and they learned a lot about the importance of standing up for what they believe in.  Their an artist of some kind in all children. We just need to take the time to see it and help them cultivate and nurtured that gift or talent. Jo'elle was encouraged by many protesters to keep standing up and having her voice heard through her art.  I enjoy seeing her find a place just for herself and explore her creative mind. I can't wait to see her masterpiece. I don't think they realize that I have preserved many of their masterpieces. My oldest son Joseph is thirty-eight and I still have artwork he created when he was in third and fouth grade. 
Jo'elle LaCoste
Earth Day in NOLA 2017
Tangi Democrats 

Friday, March 3, 2017

African American History Tours for Kids in Their Hometown

Tour of Peter Hammond Cemetery
Unknown Slave Boy Grave
There is a part of history that African American people must face and that is the history of slavery. My ancestors on both sides of my family were slaves in the Florida Parishes. While teaching my grandkids about their family, history we had to discuss slavery. They raised many questions about slavery, especially for children their ages. Of course! They can relate to kids because they are kids. They wanted to know what did they eat? Did the kids go to school? Did they have toys? Were they made to work?

They have been touring lots museums and saw many artifacts of that time and period. While visiting the cotton fields in the Mississippi Delta my granddaughter asked, "Did little girls have to pick cotton too?" The look on her face expressed many thoughts that were going on in her little mind. There's one person old enough to remember the cotton fields: her great-grandmother.

Recently I took them to the grave site of a grave marked (Unknown Slave Boy) in the cemetery of Peter Hammond.  Hammond, Louisiana founded circa 1819 by Peter Hammond. As they read the historical marker in the cemetery and learned that the little boy didn't have a name. "They wanted to know why?" Why he didn't have a name? Who were his parents? Where was he from? How old was he?

We will continue to visit museums and libraries this summer. Our schedule is planned for summer 2017. After each lesson and tour, I give them a pop quiz to see what they learned and open the floor for discussions and critical thinking. It's a great way to make history come alive for your child.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Educational Family Field Trips for Kids

Infinity Science Musem, Mississippi
My grandkids had one week off from school for the Mardi Gras holiday. They just came off a two- week long break for the Christmas holidays. They'll soon be approaching a spring break. I didn't want them to be home for one week without anything to do at all. Although my schedule was busy with doctors appointments and everything else I could think of. I cleared my schedule to give them my undivided attention. 

We talked our plan over and made plans to visit NASA science museums in Mississippi. They were so excited to visit the museum and go to the beach in Waveland as a treat. We packed our lunch after breakfast and headed out the door for our field trip.

They also toured the Sweet Home Baptist Church Museum Black History display in the Kentwood Community center. Our last field trip for the week was soon approaching. I wanted them to visit the gravesite of a little boy known only as "slave boy" in Hammond, La. He belonged to a man named Peter Hammond. 

Peter founded Hammond, Louisiana about 1818. Hammond was from Sweden. Three of my grandkids live in Hammond and I wanted them to tour the historic landmarks in their own hometown.   During the Christmas break, I took them to tour the African American Heritage Museum. 

I took them to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN and the Slavehaven Underground museum to learn about the civil rights and the underground railroad. They learn so much about history by visiting museums. They have so many questions to asked and I welcome the questions because I know they are paying attention and learning. 

Cajun Swamp Tour, Laplace, Louisiana
Family field trips do not have to be expensive at all. All you have to do is make the time and make it a family project. "Get them involved by looking at what's available in their area, visit the website to learn more about the museum or site you plan to tour." The kids can be very helpful and learn while planning. 

Last summer they wanted to take a swamp tour so they decided to sell fresh blueberries to pay for their own tickets. Every morning they would get up early before it got too hot outside and pick the fresh blueberries. They sold enough to purchase their tickets for the Cajun Pride Swamp Tour. The field trip taught them how to earn money and save money to accomplish their goal. They were so proud of themselves and I was proud of them also. The kids had enough money left over to go see a movie. Family field trips can help them in my academic subjects. 

Whitney Plantation, Wallace, Louisiana
From Whitney Plantation in Wallace, La., to museums and parks in New Orleans, the kids enjoyed themselves. We are planning our summer fun time at grandmother's house. I created the Facebook page to document and blog about our journey together. It's a great way to share photographs and videos with their parents who work and can't join us for the fun. While driving to our destinations they learn about the direction they traveling. "Whether it east, west, north or south!" Meeting new people, exploring new places and tasting new foods is educational within itself. Matter of fact is it the best education one can ask for.  I'm enjoying the family field just as much as they are. It's our quality time spent together as a family. It's important to remember that the quality time spent together is more valuable than money. I make the classroom come alive for them. Well! Our Mardi Gras break is coming to an end and they are ready to get back to school. They've already asked me to come to school and have lunch with them. "How can I tell them no!" I can't and I won't. I hope this blog article inspire you to take family field trips with your grandkids, kids or any child in your family. 

Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, LA

Monday, February 27, 2017

Harrell Inspired Other Genealogist to Donate Their Research Materials

Harrell donating her 2017 collection
My family roots run deep in the Florida Parishes. When I first started researching my family history in the local libraries and university, I couldn't find any records, photographs, and any other genealogy resources outside of the parish courthouse and ancestry.  I know my family has been in the parishes since the founding of the parishes and contributed to the society they lived in. 

They owned their land, they built their one-room schools. African American people in the Florida parishes worked hard to own and maintain their own farms and some owned their own business. They served in the military and not one monument with their names listed can be found throughout the Florida Parishes.  "Why wasn't their contributions documented?" As I moved forward to pursue my own genealogy research as planned. I started collecting photographs, documents, artifacts and genealogical records from other African American families in the Florida Parishes, I had to find a repository to deposit the items collected. 

Bennett donating her family files
In 2012, I called the office of Samuel Hyde, Jr. Ph.D., Professor of History and Director, Center for Southeast La. Studies/Archives to set up an appointment with him to talk with him about the rich collections. After talking with Dr. Hyde, he informed me that he would be happy to archive the collections, and how   important it is to the history of the Florida Parishes. The collection  help fill in the missing pieces of history in the Florida Parishes as it relates to African American people. 

I asked my colleague Bernice Alexander Bennett a Maryland resident, who is the host of "Research at the National Archives and Beyond," author, genealogist, family historian to consider donating her family papers and research to the Center for Southeast La. Studies/Archives. She agreed to donate her collection to the center.  Bennett spends countless of hours researching civil war records for Louisiana color troops at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Martin & Royal looking at Harrell's
Another genealogy researcher named Stephanie Quiette-Addison Martin, spent twenty-five years  researching and documenting the history of African Americans in the Florida Parishes, Martin has submitted work to Afrigeneas and to Christine's Genealogy website. She is also published in the "Louisiana Genealogical Register." Martin offered to donate her extensive collection to the Center for Southeast La Studies/Archives. She has collected over 10,000 names. Martin is the Manager of the African American Archives for  Louisiana.

Karran Harper Royal, co-host of "Nurturing Our Roots Television Talk Show," and Executive Director of the Georgetown University 272. Royal is a native of New Orleans and talks about the impact of Georgetown. 272 slaves were sold to benefit Georgetown University.

Words can't explain how delighted and happy I am to hear that these noted and reowned genealogists  and family historians will follow the lead and donate their collections to the center.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mob Law in Tangipahoa

Last Tuesday morning, John Johnson the negro boy who so unmercifully slaughtered the Cotton family at Tickfaw, Louisiana, and brought up from the city to Amite to be put upon his trial, but the court was relieved of this pleasure as a mob of some 250 men gathered there after dark and took Johnson and Arch Joiner, who was charged as an accomplice, and another negro name Williams who was charged with killing his wife, out of the jail, while Johnson and Joiner were carried back to the scene of their unlawful crime to be burned at the stake. They promised the mob if they would not burn them they would make an honest confession, which was agreed to. They both then confessed to the awful crime and said two other negroes were with them and they did it thinking there was a large sum of money in the house. They were then hanged and riddled with bullets.

Source: Baton Rouge, The St. Helena, Echo- (Greensburg, LA)
              Jan. 22, 1897, p. l. Col.3.

Black Field Laborer Near Amite City

Black field laborer near Amite City, ca. 1900. Cotton production remain central in the regional economy in the late nineteenth century. This photo can be found in Pistols and Politics " The Dilemma of Democracy in Louisiana's Florida Parishes 1810-1899. Written by Samuel C. Hyde, Jr.

Photo Courtesy: Buddy Bel