AFoF, Cousin Musings, Taliaferro

King’s DREAM. Sandra’s HOPE. A Community’s WORK. #DREAMFORWARD

Dr. Martin Luther KING Jr.On Wednesday January 15th, 2014 the world will pause in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 85th birthday.

As a Nation, we will never forget Dr. King’s life and civic legacy.

As a person of color, whose southern-born Grandparents vested in the hope of the Civil Rights Movement, I can never detach from King’s Dream.

A multi-hued, non-violent army [that included my Ancestors] marched, rode, stood, sat, walked and suffered for a shared Dream. Dr. King gave his life fighting for the People’s Dream.

As beneficiaries of The Movement, we’re often viewed as the fulfillment of King’s Dream. But I ask, are we really?

Are we the fruit of the Civil Rights Movement if we’ve dismissed its most fundamental principle – service to our community? In 2014, are we living or merely reciting Dr. King’s Dream?

What are we doing to help others?

On January 15th 2010, historian Sandra TALIAFERRO penned her favorite blog post, A Friend Of Friends: Lessons From The Underground Railroad.

Sandra’s Roots The Gift narrative is one of hope for descendants on either side of a blemished history to rise and work collectively beyond it.

AFoF sparked in all of us. It was a catalyst leading to racially-mixed discussions on the research responsibility of slavery’s descendants, black and white.

AFoF prompted me to create the Carnival of African American Genealogy (CoAAG) and host its 1st Edition Restore My Name – Slave Records & Genealogy Research, a cross-cultural sharing of slave-related records.  And with CoAAG’s success, we went further to keep the exchange flowing with the launch of A Friend of Friends, a repository of slave documents researchers could contribute to and access online.

We knew oft times overlooked and/or dismissed historic documents, are the key to our research-challenged Slave Ancestry. We hoped our efforts would make a lasting difference.

King a world changer. Sandra a culture changer. Both Dreamers in a society capable of self-correcting its flaws.

Be true keepers of King’s Dream and Sandra’s hope, today. Accept the truth, we must change the world from where we stand. The work is OURS.

On January 15th for the 6th Edition Carnival of African American Genealogy, we’ll pledge dreams for the future via our #DREAMFORWARD Tumblr. Dreams big and small we’ll marry with ACTION in the days and years ahead.

Sandra friends will carry her community hope forward by reblogging her A Friend Of Friends: Lessons From The Underground Railroad wish and continuing the work of fostering a research community where Ancestors of all descendants are acknowledged and respected.

Please join us for BOTH!:)

All RACES. All AGES. One PURPOSE. #DREAMFORWARD

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Middlebrooks, Taliaferro

A Simple Promise to Sandra

I was in my car on February 15, 2013 when I learned via a Genea-Traveler email from Felicia of Echoes of My Nola Past, Sandra TALIAFERRO had passed. It took my breath away. San and I hadn’t spoken in a long time. Too long really. I didn’t even realize Sandra had been ill.

Though the heaviness of her passing followed me for days, I couldn’t help feeling San was finally free. I could see her interviewing the TALIAFERRO and MIDDLEBROOKS Ancestors she’d spent countless hours searching for. I could see her getting to know her daddy, John Lawrence TALIAFERRO and reuniting with her Mama, Lillian MIDDLEBROOKS who passed on September 27, 2009 — San’s birthday.

I could see her walking and exploring and if she felt like it — probably running!:)

Many don’t know Sandra spent almost 45 years in a wheelchair. In route to student orientation on her first day of college at Clark Atlanta University, Sandra and friends were in a terrible car accident that nearly took her life. In spite of her physical constraints, Sandra rose — in every possible way.

Sandra TALIAFERRO was as stubborn as a mule, but she was truly amazing too! I hope she knows that now. So in October when San came and sat on my shoulders to say something had to be done to prevent her research from being lost, I knew better than to ignore her!:)

The timing stunk! I’d just loss Mama 8/5 and started AAGSAR 8/15. Small gestures of attempting to pay for her I Never Knew My Father domain or rescue research data from her old computer were unsuccessful. The only thing I could do, was re-post Sandra’s archived research work to a new domain.

So I promised Sandra [if she’d allow me to sleep] I’d complete our restoration project before the New Year. I added her last archived post penned January 7, 2012 – Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Your Very Best 2011 Research Adventure to her new online home, The TALIAFERRO Project on December 31, 2013. Not even 1 day to spare!:)

There are 72 posts in all, and they tell us MUCH about who Sandra TALIAFERRO was as a daughter, sister, friend, human and researcher. The TALIAFERRO research is a meticulous body of record for any genealogist with connections to San’s family line. It’s also an EXCELLENT example for the methodical nature of good research — how it should be approached, documented and cited.

Without question, Sandra knows how much I love and respect her. We can’t bring her back but we can continue to champion the Ancestor work effort that was her lifeline. We can direct new researchers — connected or not — to the wealth of data and best practices it offers. We can continue working the leads to confirm the cousin connections either our hearts and/or DNA told us are there.

That’s how we honor Sandra — rise to whatever challenge is presented, live life without excuses, and be impeccable.

Do small things with GREAT . The TALIAFERRO Project.

Sandra TALIAFERRO

Happy New Year!:)

Luckie

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