Tag Archives: Ancestors

Amandla – Brother Sechaba J. Mokoena of South Africa, iba’e

Most recently I took on the commission of installing an Ancestral Community altar paying homage to beloved Arts and Cultural leaders who’ve transitioned into the Ancestral realm, all-knowing that this calling was a whole lot greater than the actual work.  Thinking from a genealogical perspective led me to the daunting task to actually research sunrise and sunset dates associated with the names located.  Eventually, another tier added to these efforts was to locate the place of birth and place of death.

Reared, educated, trained, performed, in the richness of the Bay Area’s Cultural landscape, my honing grounds is that of the African Dance and Drum Community in Oakland, California preceded by my Mother. [see nzoCALIFA dance.blog post] Mentored as a Cultural gatekeeper, now prospering these gifts into a Dance mediumship for service, I envision this opportunity for Ancestral and Communal healing, a mission shared by 2 of my Dance kinship who serve as co-commissioners for Oakland’s Life is Living Festival: African in Oakland – Dance Zone.  United we bring into focus, The Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, celebrated Arts portal and cultural cradle place nationally renown also represents for us as “Nzo”, our house, village house and or sacred home, with a mission to elevate its vitality by intentionally honoring our beloved transitioned, treasuring their contributory gifts today.

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#nzoCALIFAncestry:  U.S. Public Records Index researched Communal Ancestor   Sechaba J Mokoena of Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa

Immediately the need is to remember our dead transitioned and restore Ancestral rites of atonement in the Community. Approaching this process like a “Spiritual Architect” coin-phrased by Pastor Yolanda Batts of Brooklyn’s Celebration Spiritual Center, I bring my tools as a Field Research Genealogist to the table, ready to shed light upon those good folks who I’ve known through my Oakland Village of African Dance, Drum, and Culture — more than just to say their names, it is important to share their stories cultivating the wealth of knowledge already invested in the Community and to encourage such exchange among each other.  From a collected roster of names collected, over 40 to date and growing, my first attempt guided me to research an International comrade who used to wail the call of Zulu warriors with songs of Freedom envisioning the unification of Africa.  As an expatriate of apartheid South Africa, I also learned that Brother Sechaba J. Mokoena was a touring member of critically acclaimed South Africa musical “Ipi N’Tombi” eventually defecting to the United States in the 80’s,  becoming a resident of the Bay Area.

#nzoCALIFAncestry: I located the record above, showing Brother Sechaba’s birthdate and as a resident of Oakland, California, North Oakland, known as the Upper Telegraph area today; he flourished as a founding member of prominent South African Cultural Groups, Zulu Spear band, and U-Zulu Dance Theatre, always keeping his vision of a United Africa. I am still locating his death date, I have an approximate year based off my recollection at the former Citicentre Dance Theatre back in 2004.

And if ever there’d be a living archive so true to date, that’d capture his views, this video documentary discovered from online research delivers!  Listen to the message and learn more about Brother Sechaba.  AMANDLA Brother Sechaba Mokoena!

Give praise to life.   ~R. Calloway, #workingmylines

Community Ancestors
“Give Praise to Life” Fall Ancestral Harvest Commemoration, Oakland, CA. @nzoCALIFA

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  • Public record accessed from Ancestry.com
  • Video published by Sonny Walebowa
  • #nzoCALIFAncestry: Continued works, documenting and preserving beloved Communal Ancestors transitioned from the Malonga Center Community legacy. Installed at Life is Living Festival and “Library Edition” Oakland Public Library

rootstech: Check your Spiritual DNA

sml_workingmylines-computer
reporting from #ROOTStech2017

Woke up on the 3rd Day of #ROOTStech conferencing, WHIPPED from all of the frenzy of information as the Salt Lake Palace Convention Center is huge, boasting “515,000 square feet (47,800 m2) of exhibit space, 164,000 square feet (15,200 m2) of meeting space including a 45,000-square-foot (4,200 m2) grand ballroom, and 66 meeting rooms.”* There were tens of thousands in attendance, over 200 sessions to choose from, with an Innovator Summit in tow and the most concise Genealogy EXPO one can attend in field knowledge, industry and education planting supple training grounds– whew, Salt Lake City breeds Genealogy and Ancestor research.

My head says stay guided, so after my morning meditations, I turn on the television looking for Gospel programming and as loud as day, this message broadcasts:

“Your spiritual bloodline will always overpower your natural bloodline”

LOL, Pastor Joel Olsteen’s Sermon of the day, I got it! Paraphrased, learn who you are, for your are destined for greatness. He went on to cite “Your spiritual bloodline will always overpower your natural bloodline.” POW,  I resonate with this through a legacy of study of African Spiritual traditions and deep reverence for Native American Ancestral propitiation; I am also further inspired that the very root of our Family Spiritual beliefs, is aligned with this overarching message. Generations of social challenges, dysfunctional Family cycles, incomplete rites of passage breeds an insurmountable occurrences of psycho-spiritual calamity in our African Ancestored communities.

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Senior Cousin         Donald Culverson, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Governor’s State University, Chicago, IL

Trumpeting MAAGI  at #ROOTStech, I’ve learned under the auspices of  fantastically intelligent minds decoding Ancestor codes and destroying “brick wall” theories. Our Ancestral codes tell us more than where we come from, they give inference as to how we lived, what codes of success we can be inspired by to further prosper our lives; one can learn about Family medical history to chromosomal defects that may affect childbearing and rearing aspirations. One common tenet I’ve learned in my own Family research and personal sojourn is that my folks were devout Spirit people, and yes CHURCH was at the helm. The partnering tenet was education, for as soon as it was made accessible to them without the lash of a whip or “Holy terror” tactics, my maternal second great-grandfather James “Gabe” Coleman born in 1870 Alabama, attended Tuskegee Institute, his granddaughter my maternal grandmother [living] went to Southern and today my niece attends New York University [NYU].  As there are a number of Educational success stories in our family, there also exists specialists who were administrators for Oakland Unified School District for over 30 years, College and University Professors in Chicago and Bakersfield to President of Merritt College in Oakland, California. Others of us are Teachers in Special Education and Arts and Cultural enrichment programs, to licensed and credentialed Health Care Professionals serving as Registered Nurses and Social Welfare Counselors.

Post conference, I was privilege to receive an invitation by one of Salt Lake City’s proud natives and Church member Brother Stephen Debies via his partner Sister Robyn Cherry to attend the historical Calvary Baptist Church organized in 1896. 20170212_124234This special Church produced voices of inspiration that lit up African Heritage Day at ROOTStech, lifting up thousands in attendance. On 1st Sunday in Salt Lake City, Calvary’s Activist and Pastor, France A. Davis shared inspiration from the word that day**                 what we have received, we ought to put it to good use in God’s kingdom and minister to one another… offering up the day’s Sermon, “A Good Steward of the Manifold Grace of God”.  I often believe that at their very best, Family Elders work hard to provide and want their families to do well often battling and balancing the course of Family hardship.  In this course, I count my blessings daily and strive to stay inspired in my service works to produce spiritual efficacy to overcome these challenges as Pastor Davis’ sermon further speaks about “manifold grace” — manifesting itself in one way to serve my needs whereby my needs met, can begin to serve another. [Calvary Baptist notes forthcoming]

I share this teaching moment… On the last day of #ROOTStech although it was  nearly the end of the conference, I rushed to strategize a question to illicit some of the expertise that the “Coaches Corner” had to offer, knowing that the appointments were probably filled — yet the “face drop” response to my inquiry regarding my African American 3rd great grandfather led me to believe, I simply got an expert who didn’t specialize in “my area” as she responded with swift empathy.  I knowing that African Ancestored Genealogy is deeply entrenched in World History, I pressed forward calibrating my question resulting in the familiar database response checks. CHECK! Out of time, no problem, “I’m all the way up,” next stop post conference Family History Library research — STILL STOKED.

Scripture inspiration offers that “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22).  The harrowing nature of American History and slavery might have broken a many Spirits, yet at the same time, many chains of slavery were broken through the yoke1might of Spirit and Faith from liberation to emancipation.

Honor the “walking history” of wealth that dwell among you — your Elders!  Listen, learn, record and chart their stories, we can benefit from their embodied knowledge; We are that much more abundant transcending the yoke of our Ancestors. And if you don’t know that by now, then start counting your blessings, starting with your breath; drink from the fountain of Ancestral wealth, be full and then refresh the cup of another. Today, my cup runneth over as I finally send off my first DNA test and skip over to the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. ~ #workingmylines

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*[Salt Palace – Wikipedia]
** Feb. 12, 2017 note: Sermon by Reverend Dr. Frances A. Davis, Calvary Baptist Church, SLC, Utah
~MAAGI: Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute – July 11th – 13th 2017:  www.maagiinstitute.org/
~RootsTech 2018: February 28-March 3, 2018 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

When Ancestors inform the Dance

Interview theme “Whose Do You Belong to?!” conceived by Regina Califa, #Dancestory Project Curator, hosted by Wanda Sabir New Orleans native and celebrated International Journalist/Activist of Wanda’s Picks.com  [originally recorded 08.07.15]

“Dancestory” is a guided movement source of embodied knowledge – UNEARTHED.               It incites exploration of cultural pathways and Ancestral histories, bridged with                  field-research and Technology.

___________  LISTEN TO INTERVIEW HERE –> “Whose Do You Belong to?”

SM_nzoCALIFAncestry-promoAD                       Project Founder and Teaching Artist, R. Califa shares a wealth of wisdom                                                                about her Sojourn joined by many in Dance+Spirit+Genealogy.

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#DANCESTORY CAMPAIGN REPORT BACK: www.gofundme.com/Dancestory2013                     for project updates and further inquiry.

 

Family Reunion: Coleman / Culverson, SoCAL recap.

Southern California-– I am a double Family descendant belonging to the Coleman and the Culversons on my maternal side and at the helm hails my 90 year old Grandmother Elsie Waters, daughter of Mabel Coleman and Cleveland Culverson of West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.  My Grandmother along with my Grandfather married as “Waters” although they had known each other since my Grandmother was 13 years old. They moved to West Oakland, California at the end of WWII and bought their 1st piece of property on Campbell Street.

Coleman / Culverson Family Reunion - Southern California 2015

Our Southern California Colemans and Culversons were the host for this year’s Family Reunion. I was absolutely thrilled to be in attendance, to share my love for Family History at the same time to speak with Elders who would know the story beneath the story of the many living Elders and their descendants and of our celebrated Patriarch, Perry Coleman. Tis a major feat to bridge the convening of these double cousins, yet Coleman and Culverson Families have organized reunion for nearly 17 years. I am fortunate to have been a part of the Northern California branch to launch its first Family History pamphlets and books in 1993, inspired by my Grandfather Claude Waters Jr, these efforts forwarded to this day by my Grandmother Elsie Waters – Today there are 5 pieces of self-produced booklets, with another project underway.

Coleman & Culverson Family Reunion pix 

[upper lft] Family Matriarchs

[upper rt] Taking notes in consultation with Family Elders at the table.

Coleman/Culverson Family Reunion -Southern California 2015

[btm left] Bakersfield 2017 Family Reunion Announcement by Cousins O.C. and Odella Johnson

[btm right] In the grand scheme of things, nothing else matters but the love and compassion that we show to one another.  ~Pastor J. R. Coleman The Word Community Church, Fresno, CA

 

#Dancestory2015
          Coleman Family Church – Los Angeles branch            St. Reed Missionary Baptist Church

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#Coleman Family Mothers convene to say “Farewell” until next…Cousin Jimmi Coleman, Matriarch Elsie Waters [front] daughters [upper] Katie Waters, Selyah Waters & my Mom Patricia Calloway along with cousin Deidre Coleman, wife of our cousin Duane aka Pastor J.R. Coleman.
Cousin kinship

Cousins strengthening Family ties. Cousin Rashad, my Brother Jon & me ;) All from James Gabriel Coleman line.
Cousins binding Family ties. Cousin Rashad, my Brother Jon &  Me. *James Gabriel Coleman line
Cousin Chara - key organizer of this year's Reunion ever so thankful for her assistance in assuring my participation
Cousin Chara – key organizer of this year’s Reunion.  A BIG thanks of gratitude to you cousin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            #nzoCALIFAncestry

Coleman Family Patriarch Born 1879 Tuskola, AL
        Coleman Family Patriarch, Perry Coleman
Born 1879 Tuskola, AL   Died 1947 Epps, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana

#AncestorSeason: My Ancestral Guardianship – Claude Waters, Jr

I woke up this morning in a comfortable embryo position, finding my tear ducts filled, with a soft weep at its brink, eased by a smile and a deep longing for that solid presence, and in consolation knowing that HE is still here and with me. It is my STUFF, us grand kids called him, born Claude Waters, Jr of Junction City, Louisiana in 1926 to Freadie Roe and Claude Waters, Sr.

Driving a tractor at the age 14, and taking care of his parents since he was a teen, my grandfather was quite accustomed to working with his hands and tilling the earth. Extremely resourceful in his community and among family, he was a quiet guided Spirit, and the life of  a party, yet firm in his vision and could easily galvanize his resources in people and through his work ethic to make things happen. Then, although he was met with a hesitancy by his childhood friend and his first love about the idea of getting married, he patiently awaited and kept it moving and soon after, the two would reunite in California where Claude and Elsie came to be, raised a family of 5 and took care of his Mother in West Oakland.

Ancestral Guardianship: My Maternal Grandfather hailing from Junction City, Louisiana. iba’e, iba’e tonnu

Their first home was on Campbell St. and Willow Manor was the local school his children attended, he worked for the Owens Illinois Glass Company, served 2 years for the United States Armed forces, later working at the Oakland Army Base in materials handling as an equipment operator.  After furthering his education at Merritt College he worked professionally for the State of California in Landscaping and Highway Maintenance for 26 years, availing the Family home we know today in East Oakland, they were the first Black Family on the block as his children attended Fremont Highschool and Castlemont Highschool. Maybe around 2003, I was bestowed with a rare opportunity to revisit my grandparents’ first digs on Campbell Street, as it was then owned by enterprising West Oakland aspiring “Black moguls” who had acquired this real estate; Through a close friend, I’d also learn that a New Orleans couple that I knew, were slated to purchase it and so I arranged access for me take a tour. By cell phone, my Mom guided me through each room, vividly depicting who stayed where, including her grandmother “Sug” in the “mother-in-law” room. When I told my grandmother of this, we were all pretty excited about the couple purchasing the home as they were still in escrow, yet my Grandmother mindfully warned – get the keys!

When my grandfather passed in January 1997, it was like the spoke of a wheel lifted, leaving the wheel  to topple over trying to balance – Family. He being a 25 member of the Masons, with membership to Monarch Lodge #73, Menelik Temple #36 and the Victoria Consistory, he was also the President of the Scimitar Club for 2 years. He was that pillar and visionary who surpassed risks, didn’t accept “I can’t” and firmly encouraged our productivity, progressive action and no nonsense; he still was a lot of fun and laughs and could out run ALL of his track star grandchildren in jeans, with his house slippers on and a cigarette in his mouth. *smh* My grandmother called him a  “risk-taker” for which we are all grateful to him for this day, as we are STILL property owners in Oakland.

Today, I ponder at the fact that I wouldn’t have taken up such a dedicated interest in Geneaology research, if it weren’t for the positive encouragement of my Grandfather. I have upon many attempts worked to crack “the mystery” surrounding his Father’s people. I’ve gotten the lore of half-sisters one day, estranged family members asking for money another day, yet NO INFO even though there’s a wealth of technological access today in Genealogical research. The #AncestorChallenge attached below was the result of a task placed before members of the The African American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research (AAGSAR) led by #Genealogy buff Ms. Luckie Daniels, as she was most definitely a welcomed catalyst, with an adjoined “No Brick Walls” policy. Tenaciously, I did learn from his draft registration card, that my great grandfather Claude Waters, Sr was married prior to our Sug, and the next of kin listed on the card was a “Raiford” “Rayford”; in subsequent searches there’d be an absence of any information between the 1920’s and 1930’s, although I located residence info cited in the 1930 census. Been poking in and around neighbor surnames on Census records as well, and even super-sleuthing information surrounding my great grandfather’s first wife Daisy Rose-Waters her 2nd husband and son , with no avail to any additional information  yet.

gene_Case scenario in search of my Paternal Great Grand Parents.
gene_Case scenario in search of my Paternal Great Grand Parents.

…so today with a gentle nudge from my Grandfather “STUFF”, I contacted select cousins and all of his children my Mom, Uncle and Aunts to share the message to physically honor their Father, my Grandfather as it is the light he deserves. And I thank those who responded, for the alignment needed with fervor to keep #workingdalines.

For today Daddy Stuff, I’ve picked back up your paternal line as it is now added to my research docket today. #AncestorsSpeak #workingmylines

411: Afrigeneas.com –

In May 2013,  I answered “The Call” for applicants  and applied for the Afrigeneas.com sponsored scholarship to attend the Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute [MAAGI].  (smile)  July 2013 marked my first intensive experience at a genealogy institute of any kind. My experience at MAAGI will always be an organic compass in my life guiding my works as an emerging Genealogist and Family Historian.

Cultural Heritage, Ancestor traditions and Family History have always been a running thread in my creative works, scholarly area of focus and through Family Gatherings. Inspired through a Family HIstory book initiative by way of my paternal Grandfather Claude Waters, Jr in the early 90’s, motivated me further to unearth more information about our stories.  My Ancestral quest resonates in shared vision with the pioneering Afrigeneas.com – I encourage all adjoined on this trek to learn more, visit the site or join a chat forum exchange amongst experts.

Afrigeneas.com VISION:
” To find and document the last slaveholder and the first African in each family.”

Afrigeneas.com
photo: courtesy Afrigeneas.com web guru on Facebook

Afrigeneas

Revisiting Family Tree of Surnames

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R Waters Calloway - working Family Tree of Surnames researched. 2014
R Waters Calloway – Working Family Tree of Surnames researched. 2014

Give praise to the Life of our Ancestors imbued with infinite wisdom to UPlift our own. Honor breath -speak their names for the vitality of yOUR existence for they are with you, GIVE light towards their ascension for the healing.

Adjoin in Familial – Communal kinship increasing the power of these riteful works making what we do powerFULL. Egun iba’se Egun ire’o *a dupe Baba Yagbe Awolowo Onilu for the added fuel of inspiration.

#‎workingdalines‬ ‪#‎RiteOn‬‪#‎FamilyHistory‬ ‪#‎CommunityPreservation‬  visit: Congo SQ West Kinship Society

Learn more: Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI)AfriGeneas ~ African Ancestored Genealogy