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  • 00:28

    Getting to Know Ressie Luck and Kenneth Thomas Sr.

    in Lifestyle

    Ressie Luck She is a member of the national AAHGS, National Genealogy Society,and the VA/NC Genealogy Society. She is the founding president and current member of the Danville/Pittsylvania County chapter of the Afro American Historical & Genealogical Society(AAHGS). She presents and lectures to large and small groups on African American research. She is currently working on her first family history book.

    Kennerth Thomas Sr.Childhood with imaginary friends. Answered the military call. International fashion stage opened. Longshoreman like Dad. Now back with my passion of storytelling.

  • 01:08

    Flight to Freedom: " The Fields Family and Freedom's Fortress"

    in History

    Flight to Freedom: "The Fields Family and Freedom’s Fortress” 

    What would you risk to gain freedom for your family?

    Martha Ann Fields, her children, and her husband Washington Fields risked all to escape enslavement in Hanover County, VA to reach freedom at Fort Monroe – known as “Freedom’s Fortress” – in Hampton, Va. during the Civil War. “Flight to Freedom” is a dramatic interpretation of their journey, told through dramatic reading, song, and multimedia clips. Presented by Ajena Rogers, historical interpreter and a Fields family descendant and Drusilla Pair, genealogical researcher.

    Ajena Cason Rogers, a native of Roanoke, VA, has been an impassioned interpreter of the African American experience her entire National Park Service career and is a proud descendant of Washington Fields (1815-1868) and his wife Martha Ann Fields (1813-1891) and their son James A. Fields (1844-1903). She now lives in Hanover County, where the family originated.

    Drusilla Pair, a native of Newport News, VA, has been tracing her family history since 1994.  She is not a descendant of the Fields family but became interested in researching the history of the Fields family after attending a presentation by Gregory Cherry (1955-2007) who shared how he acquired and restored the James A. Fields House.  She is a member of the Hampton Roads Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) and the Hampton Roads Association for the Study African American Life and History (ASALH).

    Visit the Fields House Blog for more information about the James A. Fields House at


  • 01:00

    Funeral Programs 101 with Karen Sutton

    in History


    It is an African American tradition to hold on to and treasure certain Funeral Programs because they represent a final and public tribute to the life of family members, friends and associates.  Ms.Sutton began actively collecting Funeral Programs and Newspaper Obituaries in1986. Today she has a 15 volume collection of 2" loose-leaf binders full of them consisting of at least 1000 people.  She will share with you how to decipher the clues provided therein to help with your genealogical research. 

    Karen E. Sutton is a Family Historian, specializing in African-American research in Maryland,Virginia, & Washington, DC,Medical, and Lineage Societies in general, and the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) research in particular. She joined NSDAR based on the service of her free black ancestor from Virginia.  Karen also served as National membership chair for the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc.(AAHGS), is a charter member of the Baltimore Chapter of AAHGS, and is the first Black “National Vice-Chairperson -- African American” -- for the“National Lineage Research Committee,” NSDAR.  She holds a B.S. in Nursing and a Master's degree in Historical Studies.  After receiving her MA,Karen worked at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in colonial costume, and is currently employed as a Registered Nurse in Long Term Care.  She has also taught "African American History" and "Introduction to the African American Experience" courses in the Africana Studies Department at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and is seeking similar employment at a Baltimore Area Community College or University.

  • 01:20

    From the Cradle to the Grave with Tamela Tenpenny-Lewis

    in History

    This show will motivate you to create the story that puts your ancestor's life into the context of where they lived, celebrated and experienced  a multitude of life events, and died.  Telling the real story is what genealogy is all about!
    Do you have a story to tell about your ancestors?
    Bernice Bennett welcomes  Tamela Tenpenny-Lewis the newly elected National President of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), for an engaging discussion on genealogy and preservation.  She has been active in the genealogical community for 32 years and is experienced in the fields of genealogical research, restoration, preservation, database management, program planning and presentation.  Her skill as a motivator and organizer serves the genealogical community with well received and attended national conferences.
    She has collaborated on numerous occasions with individuals and organization to share, inform, educate, and preserve historical information and artifacts.  In demand as a speaker and presenter across the United States, Tenpenny-Lewis has shared her passion for history and genealogy with Blacks in Government, National Association of Black Social Workers, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and many others.  
    Theme music - Sweet Mello Spice by composer / producer Alvin K. Alexander. 

  • 01:20

    Freedmen Bureau Records with Selma Stewart

    in History

    Finding Your Ancestors in the Freedmen Bureau Records between 1865-1872.
     Host - Bernice Alexander Bennett  and Co-Host - Natonne Elaine Kemp.
     Selma Stewart  will discuss and provide examples of what is available and how to use Virginia Freedmen Bureau Records that are digitized and available on-line at www. FamilySearch.org.
    Selma Stewart is an avid family researcher and genealogist. She is the current President of the Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society Hampton Roads Chapter and serves on the Board of the Virginia Genealogical Society. In addition, she is the former National 2000-2002 Corresponding Secretary for Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society.  Her work on numerous transcription projects include the Brantley Association Southampton County Virginia Project and Whispers from the Dust - Virginia Freedmen's Project Freedmen Bureau Record Group 105.
      Theme music - Sweet Mello Spice by composer / producer Alvin K. Alexander. (Pianist Ayako Higuchi)

  • 01:00

    Genealogist Expert, Mr. Barksdale Hall will discuss Family Trees

    in Education

    Mr. Barksdale-Hall will be joining Yvette Jordan on ~ The Gist of Freedom~ Show this Sunday, January 31st, at 6pm EST, 9pm PST.

    Genealogist and Author, Mr. Barksdale-Hall serves as president for JAH Kente International, Inc. that promotes the arts and genealogy throughout schools in metropolitan Washington D.C. area. His other pursuits are also his inspiration to write books for children. He is a founder and former executive director of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) of Pittsburgh and has attained status of AAHGS life member. In 2003 he was awarded the AAHGS National History Award for his consistent commitment and dedication to the documentation of African American history. Barksdale-Hall has traveled to West Africa and has researched the black family for more than 30 years. His research resulted in the Millennium Family Reunion, held in Detroit, bringing together more than 300 descendants of enslaved African ancestors. In 2009 he was recognized as one of the most accomplished graduates of the University of Pittsburgh.

    Mr. Barksdale-Hall 's "Under African Skies" will be the first children's picture book in the series “Stories by Brother Barksdale”.

    Be sure to tune in to learn tips on how to research your family history.