19 December 2010: Sentimental Sunday – Memories of Russia ~ Then & Now

In August 1969, my high school Russian class was given an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity to take an all expenses paid trip to Russia.  I often reflect back on that trip and how blessed we were, as young African Americans, to have such a unique experience.   We were accompanied by a photographer from Ebony magazine, and the trip was featured in the magazine’s November 1969 issue in an article titled To Russia – With Understanding.  We were also followed by cameras from the television news show 60 Minutes and featured in a segment on the show – Booker T. Washington High School Goes to Russia.  We were interviewed by a local television station here in Atlanta, and there was an article in the newspaper.  Yes, it was our “15 minutes of fame”.

At our 40th high school class reunion this past August, we were reunited with classmates from our trip.  This reunion was made even more special by a visit from our Russian teacher, Ms. Billie (Davis) Gaines.  Many of us had not seen Ms. Gaines since high school.  There were hugs and laughter, and yes, a few tears.  It was truly a joyous occasion.  There was much to share and reminisce about.  It was an evening we will probably never forget.  It was a night for –   Memories of Russia – Then & Now.

Top photo: Ebony Magazine, To Russia – With Understanding, November 1969. (http://www.google.com)

Bottom photo: From the personal collection of the owner of this blog.


12 February 2010: Follow Friday: Welcome To Our New Home!

By sjtaliaferro

Welcome to the new home of I Never Knew My Father. I hope you like the new look. Things were quiet for a few weeks during our “facelift”, but now we’re back with more reflections, research challenges, and ancestor stories. A couple of posts you may have missed during the transition are a birthday shout-out to my brother Bernard on February 8th and the February 10th Wordless Wednesday tribute to Harriet Tubman. If you’re a new follower to I Never Knew My Father, you also may have missed my post A Friend of Friends: Lessons From The Underground Railroad. This post is very dear to my heart, and is a message that cannot be repeated too often. I welcome your comments.

Again, thanks for following I Never Knew My Father. I appreciate your support.


6 December 2009: Sentimental Sunday & Monday Madness – Some Days I Just Wanna Cry!

Blue Monday Annie LeeResearching my family history is a very emotional experience for me, as I’m sure it is for many researchers. Each newly discovered piece of information fills in another piece of the puzzle, but also presents you with more questions and creates even more empty spaces in that puzzle that is your family tree. Our family stories need to be told, and we were chosen by our ancestors to do just that…tell their stories. It is imperative that we record and preserve our family history. No one said it would be easy, but it is necessary. There are highs and lows, jackpot days and empty days, and many brick walls to tackle. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions, and I love it all. Sometimes, however, I can’t help but wonder about the things I’ll never find, and….
Some Days I Just Wanna Cry!

For all the brick walls I’ll never break through
For all the documents I’ll never find
For all the burned courthouses where ashes held the answers I seek
For all the times no one took the time to write it down
For all those known only by their sex, age and race
For all those that died before anyone knew they were ever alive
For all those who survived with no clues left to trace
For all the photos with no name, date, or place
For all the lost memories, and those too ugly to share
For all the unidentifiable and unmarked graves
For all the cemeteries too unimportant to save
For all those ancestors I’ll never know
For all those I find, but can’t prove they are mine….
Some Days I Just Wanna Cry!

[Image Source: Blue Monday. Artist: Annie Lee]



SURNAME IMAGE (YELLOW)I got this idea for my first SURNAME SATURDAY post from my friend Gini over at Ginisology. Gini credits Cindy of Everything’s Relative for turning her on to this fun way to display surnames. My thanks to both of them for this great idea. I played with it for a while before I could get TALIAFERRO to show up large enough to suit me. Turns out TALIAFERRO (my paternal surname) and MIDDLEBROOKS (my maternal surname) ended up with each other in the bottom right hand corner. How cool is that!! Give it a try. It’s fun!