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Monday, October 6, 2014

"African Facial Marks Decode Quilts"

Gist of Freedom Interview 

"African Facial Marks Decode Quilts"  

with Mrs. Teresa R. Kemp 

 Interview by (@RoyPaulReports)  September 21, 2014 

Thank you for the great response to the interview. I enjoyed hearing from all of you! 

If you missed the interview Click here to listen

Join The Gist of Freedom at www.BlackHistoryBLOG.com and at WWW.BlackHistoryUniversity.com
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 8pm ET  @GISTofFREEDOM
I loved visiting their websites and if you are a history buff it is a must see. (All the links are in orange)

As promised here are the links to the sites I mentioned in the radio interview:

This database contains information and details on more than 35,000 voyages of ships that carried people enslaved as cargo. It shows the details of 12 million Africans forcefully taken from their homes and sold worldwide for their unique knowledge and skills."

It offers researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the 
reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history."

I used this database in my research & to write
"Keeper of the Fire: An Igbo Metalsmith from Awka"
 it's a primary source that answers the question
 "How many people knew the UGRR Quilt Codes?"

 It is as African textile language that has come to be known as the UGRR Quilt Code since the book "Hidden In Plain View" was written. Often I have heard people say that their ancestors African names are lost forever. 

Well maybe but maybe not. If you can match the slave auction records (still in existence with the plantations ledgers of transactions and purchases or bills of sale. It is now conceivable that you might find their African names referenced on the Freedman's Bureau Records or Military Service Records or US Census Records.  I did not say it would be easy but it might be possible. 

I also have escaped slave advertisements with an African name and city. The descendants of village with taken people with a DNA match might be able to document the name of their taken family member.

National Archives has information on many topics and have the Veteran's Military Service Records are also one of the links you can visit at the national archives. Each one has many of the same records and each have different records too.


You can do searches on people, places and events on-line or in person at their regional locations. Freedman's Bureau has records from 1865-1872 that include state level, local field location records and marriage records. They have image (photos) bank and land records also. You can also visit their On-line exhibits and they have Teacher Resources on every page.

"In the years following the Civil War, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen's Bureau) provided assistance to tens of thousands of former slaves and impoverished whites in the Southern States and the District of Columbia. The war had liberated nearly four million slaves and destroyed the region's cities, towns, and plantation-based economy. It left former slaves and many whites dislocated from their homes, facing starvation, and owning only the clothes they wore. The challenge of establishing a new social order, founded on freedom and racial equality, was enormous"

I use Family Search.org to enter my families genealogy. It is one of the largest databases in the world. It is free and all you need is an email address. I did not want over 300 members of my family to have to pay to access their information! If you do not have anyone to do it for you and is not a documented by previous generations, you start it off! Don't wait. Simply enter all you know and ask older neighbors and family members.

St. Luke's AME Zion Church
2014 Exhibit in Lone Star, SC

In 2004, the Mormon Church of the Latter Day Saints did my mother's family history as a gift. It confirmed our oral history and gave us the link that was missing to get copies of probated wills, warrants, 4 appraisals that included the names of Peter and Eliza Farrow, Sr.

If you need assistance in starting there are many Family Search Center's that you can visit to learn to use the system or get you documenting you family line started. Find a Center  

If you are adopted don't fret. We have had some success with getting birth records that have been archived depending on your age. 

David R. Strother
My maternal great grandfather

This database has over 70 million military records digitized and non military related records also. There are original treaties too! 

For the military and non-military records of those in my family who served and our Native American Dawes trials records, I used Fold3.org to collect the City Directory's from towns where my family members lived in the 1940's. First, gather all your questions and names and then log on for the free trail. It is important to stay focus when the data bases are so big. You can get lost in searches finding and reading through centuries of history. (There is a charge but they also offer a free trail membership.) 

Fold3 is one of the places I found over 1,000 records on my 160 relatives that participated on the Confederate side of the Civil War  (CSA or Confederate States of America) and 58 Strother's on the Union side. I use the computers at the National Archives in Marrow.

1840 US Census Record
of David R. Strother

A few of the archives I use consistently are the Atlanta Fulton County Public Library downtown (AFPLS) location, Auburn Avenue African-American  Research Center also in Atlanta, GA, the National UGRR Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH. I visit both the National Archive in Marrow, GA and the GA State Archives which is next door. Every state has an archive.  The presidential libraries also that are great for research too. 

We've searched in many local archives and have used the local libraries to do genealogy research.  During the 2006 Strother Farrow McDaniel visited family reunion  we took a van load of people from Atlanta, GA and visited the family churches, cemeteries, the archive and library in the Edgefield , SC area. 

My 1st Cousin Ophelia DeVore Mitchell's records are in Emory University's MARBL Research Center located in Atlanta, GA. They have 100 boxes of her photos, booklets, letters from her cosmetic line, the charm school and modeling agency. They have many rare photos, books and documents you can research while there. Many are being put online. They have permanent and temporary exhibits also. I saw the SCLC exhibit when I was last there. Here is a link to Ophelia's History Maker's Interview Page

Library of Congress will hold Ophelia's and my late Mother's interview and is another Database that i have used for over 15 years to do research. I can not tell you how proud that now I have 3 family members information there in my lifetime. I use them for photos, narratives, veterans history and many many more searches. They have a great variety of on-line searchable databases.

The Atlanta History Center's Kenan Research Center is the official archive for the Strother Family, not knowing that I started a file at the Auburn Avenue Research Museum when I developed cancer in 2007. The Atlanta History Center has over 15 c. feet of diaries, bibles, photos and documents from over 3 centuries of Strother family. I still have the UGRR Secret Quilt Museum's archive that I am working on digitizing. I will be adding documents to the Plantation Quilts Research Place Page . 

2014 Covina CA Library
UGRR Secret of the Quilts Exhibit
In the book, Keeper of the Fire I list an international archives, museums, libraries that we have used either on-line and in person. Many historic sites have archives and libraries that can be helpful. I use the online state archives for every person in our family. 

When I do traveling exhibits I carry over 2,000 documents and photos with me to add to the displays and answer questions patrons might ask.

I enjoy answering questions and learning from the guest 
of the exhibits and those who call or write it. Hope to hear from you too. Please leave comments or questions. 


UGRR Quilt Code Exhibits are presentations that HEAL communities! 

Now scheduling for 2104-2017 To schedule book signing or an exhibit 

Plantation Quilt's Contact Info:

Mrs. Teresa R Kemp's Phone: (404) 468-7050

Email: trkemp@PlantationQuilts.com

Like Us on Facebook: UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum

Follow us on Twitter: @UGRRQuiltMuseum

Plantation Quilt's Website: www.PlantationQuilts.com

Blog: https://UGRRQuiltCode.blogspot.com

We Have Chosen Education as a Bridge to Understanding!

Friday, October 3, 2014

JAMEL - 9 Year Old Artist Illustrates Book

Keeper of the Fire: 
An Igbo Metalsmith from Awka

Jamel illustrates the book by 5 previous generations of his family. 

Jamel is the illustrator of the "Keeper of the Fire: An Igbo Metal Smith from Awka" book coming out soon. It's a research resource done by 5 generations of his family into the African cultural heritage of his abolitionist ancestors, Rev. Peter & Eliza Farrow Sr.  enslave in Glynn Cty., GA. The Farrows were freed from the Dover Hall Plantation & continued work on American UGRR by 1858 using "coded maps & messages sewing into quilts" said Mrs Kemp. 

In Ohio's old community Jamel has a great time doing his art. You might find him sitting at a little cafe after school, doing his drawing. Jamel's in 4th grade at the community elementary school. His new Art Specialist this past year, wrote Jamel a letter over the summer to inform & congratulate him on selection of his "Louis Nevelson Box Sculpture's" inclusion in the All-District Art Show. He has a new instructor since last school year. His former instructor since Kindergarten, Ms. Liefeld retired last year. 

Jamel said his old art instructor, Mrs. Liefeld, got his art to the high school's art shows every year and he never knew how, "It got there."  My first art show was in kindergarten says this seasoned artist. This is a well rounded boy who says he was inspired to do art his whole life. He played baseball ran track and is now a lineman on the Bexley Lion's Football Team.

He hails from a close knit extended family. His great grandparents showed Jamel the Sankofa Bird and talked with him about their family's Igbo African culture and American Underground Railroad (UGRR) legacy. "Memories Pieced Together Quilt Exhibit" that honored his late great grandmother at the M. L.K King Arts Complex March-April 2013.

He is also the great grandson of the late Dr. Howard Wilson, former Deputy Safety Director City of Columbus (Columbus, Ohio). His grandfather taught him to play the piano and gave him swimming lessons several times a week until his passing June 1, 2013. 

His late great grandmother Serena Strother Wilson. She was honored by a Presidential Proclamation at her 365 Harmony Program and documentary viewing last year. Serena was Ohio educator for 40 years and an internationally acclaimed Art History Maker. She was an author and loved quilting. She was nominated and recieved the honor of being selected as a An Art & Education History Marker. Forturnately she did 5 hours hours of video taped interviews in 2004. They have now been added to the Library of Congress with the other History Maker's Interview Collection.  

Mrs. Teresa R. Kemp

He attended his grandmother, Teresa R. Kemp's exhibit at the UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum exhibit location formerly in Underground Atlanta with his mother (In Atlanta, Georgia 2005-2007). She visits me monthly and we go to libraries, galleries and exhibits after-school in Columbus, Ohio Jamel commented. He helps her with her quilting designs and the Keeper of the Fire Exhibit Arts & Craft Exhibit Projects.

Jamel's mother Tanisha is into fashion and has cultivated his love of design since he was an infant. She attended and received a BS in Human Ecology graduate of the Ohio State University and has a lot to do with development of his talents. She is his number 1 fan and patron for his art! His room looks like a art studio and a art gallery all in one. He loves pipe cleaners and knows all the names and habitats of every dinosaurs, she added.

We have been to Columbus Arts Council's downtown Riffe Gallery and  recently to the Capital University's Schumacher Gallery Jamel added. His grandmother being born in Germany wanted Jamel to see the Renaissance art techniques whose eyes will follow you. They both had a good time testing to see if they would follow him around the room. 
Jamel K. Thomas-Joyce with a statue
of a whippet at the Capital University's
Schumacher Gallery 9-.24-2014.

He recognized the carved Narwhal whale when we were at the Schumacher Gallery last week. We were looking at the Inuit exhibit and the gallery staff and I were surprised he knew the name and where the animal lived. Jamel told us some people think they are only a mythical creature.

His favorite piece was the whippet sculpture Jamel said "because art about them is so scarce".  They also took a field trip to area pawn shops because Jamel wanted to see taxidermy. Jamel was excited to see the life-like preservation of the animals. He wants a nature preserve and eventually a zoo on family lands in the south.

Jamel is the 7th generation quilter of the Farrow-McDaniel families! I am so excited that he took an interest and attended the Quilter for Christ Quilt Guild meeting with me this summer."This summer, he attended the Quilter's for Christ Quilt Guild with me and helped me work on one of the sampler quilts unfinished by my late mother and I, said his grandmother, Mrs. Teresa Kemp."

Jamel working on UGRR Sampler Quilt

Ms. Kemp explained. Many of the men in our family sew and my father, Dr. Howard L.Wilson often added the tubes to hang the quilts with at an exhibit last spring also. 

I was surprised to see him sewing in January 2012, when I arrived from Atlanta, GA to travel with them to Concord College, in Athens, West Virginia. He said my mother was not feeling well so he was making a few last minute repairs and fixes. I grabbed a needle and tread to finish getting ready.

Jamel cutting out fabric for his secret design
at the Quilter for Christ Quilt Guild meeting
He designed and made this snake stuffed animal to go on the floor at the door of his room also. They can also be used to stop drafts under doors to the outside. His art is expressed in many different mediums sketches, painting, sculpture, cartoons and more.

Jamel Joyce finishing stitching his snake.
stuffed animal at QFC guild meeting.

His finished "Sankofa Bird - Look back and Learn Your History" is one of 8 of his works in the book. Here are photos of him in the sketching process below.  

Jamel's artwork, titled "Louis Nevelson Box Sculpture" was selected to be in the fall All-District Art Exhibition opening October 7th, to November 7th, 2014 in the Fine Arts Wing of the Cassingham School Complex, Bexley, Ohio USA. This is Jamel's 4th year having one of his pieces selected to be in the All District Art Exhibition in Ohio (USA).


UGRR Quilt Code Exhibits are presentations that HEAL communities! 

Now scheduling for 2104-2017 To schedule book signing or an exhibit 

Plantation Quilts Contact Info:

Mrs. Teresa R Kemp's Phone: (404) 468-7050

Like Us on Facebook: UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum

Follow us on Twitter: @UGRRQuiltMuseum

Plantation Quilt's Website: www.PlantationQuilts.com

Blog: https://UGRRQuiltCode.blogspot.com

We use education as a bridge for understanding"

I Am Still A Bridge Builder!