When I was growing up I knew very little about my family outside of my maternal grandmother. And what little information I did know came from an old black and white picture in my mother photo album and the stories my mother told me about a family vacation to
when she was ten years old. The photo was dated 1954 and was taken in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco when my great grandmother left Texas to visit her three children who migrated to the San Francisco Bay Area during World War II. The photograph showed my mother being held by my grand aunt, with my grandmother, great grandmother and others standing by her side. This photo would be the inspiration that would lead me on a journey of self-discovery to uncovering my family heritage.
My journey began when I was a sophomore in college, after reading Margaret Walker's Jubilee for an African American's literature course. The professor informed the class that the novel was based on oral history. The professor went on to talk about conducting genealogy research and the unique location of the college since it was so close to various repositories - Sutro California State Library, National Archives and Records Administration, and a family history center. After the class ended, I ran to the college library and checked every book I could find on doing genealogy. After reading a few books, I felt I was ready to start researching. I figured I would learn everything I needed to know about my family by the end of summer.
Little did I realize, the project I was attempting to do would require more than a couple of months. My summer adventure has turned into a life long journey full of documenting the challenges and successes of my ancestors and their descendants.