Tag Archives: Calloway

About my summerfield, louisiana

How a small Northern Louisiana town, called Summerfield, Louisiana could hold generations of my life to date? Becoming a Field research Genealogist would most certainly reveal to me the enormity of this discovery. I posted a lead post earlier on my #Genealogy Instagram platform @ReginaCalifa360, about the wisdom shared by my maternal Grandfather, CLAUDE WATERS, JR. :

“…take care of your own backyard.”

The WALSTON Family Reunion was conceived upon a foundation of woven memory and Family History research encompassing oral narratives about our Family Patriarchs MILES and MISSOURI WALSTON of Summerfield, Louisiana.

This year’s Family Reunion held in in the Bay Area, California was a tremendous success supported by a core of Wisdom Keepers, Family Elder Advisory and a fantastic Committee of dedicated members, lead by the visionary excellence of our Co-Chairs Cousins Kelly Bailey and Jayde Williams both of WILLIE WALSTON lineage. Our Family History Pioneers ARTHUR WALSTON and ADA MEADORS represent the living blueprint for which has become the Family History story we know today.

And taking cue, since the late 1800’s, Family members have transcended this story from generation to generation through their daughter VERA WALSTON unto its kinship legacy of the HILDRETHS, the LIVINGSTONS, VANHOOKS and so on. As it would become a joint commissioned effort of my Cousin Deborah through the Pioneering lineage of her Grandparents, so would it invoke my life’s quest ushered by my Grandfather’s wishes, who was SALLIE WALSTON’s Great Grandson. And this year the both of us served on the WALSTON Reunion Committee to advance the work, expanding the Reunion’s Genealogy and Family History component.

DOUBLE COUSINS ACTIVATE!!!

Deborah and I are also double cousins, not only verified in our own respective Family History research, but recently discovered through DNA as she matches Family members on both my Mother and Father’s side. We just “GET” each other and indeed it is a dynamic Spiritual exchange of kinship that we bear. Our dynamic research exchanges boasts energy of revelations that connect Family relations. Often we laugh and marvel at our discoveries. I truly value the inspirational inheritance of our relationship.

Have grown up loving the hands of both sides of my Family, that knows how to make my fave, HOT WATER CORNBREAD

So when a clan of folks, recently came to visit my Father’s Mother, boasting 106 years on this planet earth, TRUST it was a day I had to be present. Mama Georgia is lively, brass and brash with Spirit whose calling never fails to share A Word, with the Bible nearby her elbow seen or unseen. In this visit were my Grandmother’s nephews and nieces who were KENNEDYs, and included a surprise visit by my Great Uncle Bobby HUNTER who only recently retired from driving Big rig trucks well into his 80’s; My Hunters are about some God-given vitality, and quick to deliver A WORD or wield “A CUT” so take the warning first. LOL *smh*. >>Although I had met Cousin Bo at Mama Georgia’s Birthday party, prior to this visit, his Brother Charles had connected with me online, inciting a cataclysmic exchange of Summerfield, Louisiana connections — My people! I learned sooo much about our intersections and connections, I was too full.

I LOOOVED the inertia of Summerfield Family energy, as we all “kinned up”, broke bread, laughed, faced-time other Family members marveling at our common ways, connections and celebrated just how GREAT GOD IS through Family.

Ancestral burial place, Mount Sinai CME Church, Summerfield, Claiborne Parish, LA

Finally, I had a captivated audience to submit the claim that my maternal Grandfather and Father were distant Cousins, Elders were NOT surprised to learn of this once information. And as I shared my discovery, each Family clan knew of each other with some living only blocks away even to this day. Others could identify whether Family clans lived in the Mt. Sinai or Mt. Olive areas; I had also researched on FIND-A-GRAVE.com that some of my Father’s Maternal side, HUNTERS were also buried at the Old Mt. Sinai Cemetery along with WALSTONS. There are Cousin who’ve shared that there are some CALLOWAYs who are buried at Mt. Sinai and that there was a Pastor related to me that preached at a local church. *whew*

It is a real treasure to gain this information in perspective. Information so timelessly preserved by our Eldership.

There are even more irons in the fire right now, added to an already HOT research docket. I’m grateful for the reunions, and will add, don’t wait until a Family Reunion to gather or meet up. Start with the Family around you, those you can still access , travel to or make a phone call. Welcome inside your Family gathering this season, to truly learn about your Family History lineage. Move beyond obvious questions concerning geographical and chronological dates and begin to ask Elders what was it like to grow up. Ask about foods, music, past times they enjoyed; What animals did they raise or know about, names of neighbors or what was the most historical event they could remember during their time. This will encourage the story that truly matters, en-souled with lessons that can impact your life today.

My Grandfather, CLAUDE WATERS, JR or Junction City, Louisiana 1926-1997

WHEN IS YOUR NEXT FAMILY MEET UP?!

It’s been my personal goal for decades to visit the old Mt Sinai area and nearby landmarks of the times that have shape the very lives of both sides of my Family. The stories of my Ancestors continue to prosper my own pathways and Family History. I encourage you to gain the wisdom you’ve inherited, and be guided HOW, to take care of your own backyard. Know your Family History.

|| workingmylines.org | @ReginaCalifa360

Back on the Blogging Block…

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Been a bit, as I’ve been hitting the pavement, digging deep, traveling wide and praying on high, blasting through proverbial research Brick Walls, and basking in the inheritance of a multitude of FAMILY!!! *Special shout out to the fantastic Family Reunion efforts of SIMS in New Orleans, the WALSTONS in the Bay Area and the BROWN-REDIC Family ties convening in Las Vegas this year.

We all know that although Family Reunion planning can prove to be challenging, the rewards run long and deep. We have so many reasons more to strengthen our ties, honor our Elders and to motivate the minds of our Youth to carry our traditions forward. I am deeply inspired, and enjoy my newly discovered kinship. I share in the vision to rediscover, rejuvenate and reunite, Family.

Weathering Hurricane our SIMS kept it Family tight New Orleans, early July
The Mighty WALSTONS blazed new trails in Family Reunion planning, bridging Family over 100 strong to extending Family History Research. And a welcomed Spirit of determination deserves applause as the BROWN-REDIC Vegas reunion stayed in fellowship during August heat. Job well done Family, see you sooner.

Although this Season is considered FALL, Ancient wisdom would reveal that this time of the year IS the New Year. Celebrated Wisdom Teacher, Iyanla proclaims the season to “ALL FALL UP” , to do those things required to get us back in sync with nature, to FALL INTO your purpose. *a’dupe Iya*

I know it to be Odunde in Yoruba, West African Culture, the Harvest or in the Bay Area and some regions Kwanzaa is celebrated honoring First Fruits and thus the fruits of our labor. Among Communal kinship circles, the Fall is filled with a fête season of Ancestral remembrance, perfect for gathering Summer Reunion memories, bringing them forward to share at ceremonial offerings of atonement.

Ancestral Community Altar, Malonga Center Community – West Oakland Lil Bobby Hutton aka Defremery Park: Life is Living Festival 10 *Curator: R Califa, nzoCALIFA

It’s the time to cove, for reflection, to release, and for re-envisioning; The Fall Equinox is my is my favorite time of the year for gratitude, and let me tell you my cup runneth over. I get excited by stepping up my service in the legacy of my Ancestors as Missionaries, Evangelists and Community Workers. Activating my own vehicles of service, I recruit and motivate aligned interests who desire to demonstrate exceptional acts of kindness, to express favor and practice #goodGIVING and Giving thanks, simply.

Bursting with the abundance of wisdom from researching my Family History, continues to fill me. I am grateful for the indomitable Spirit that dwells within me in a long walk of Faith, that transcend from a folk whose daily bread is guided prayer, praise and giving God the Glory.

~Amen, Aṣẹ and So it is…

Maternal Walston-Terrell-Livingston Family, by way of my Grandfather, CLAUDE WATERS, JR
Walston Family Reunion 2019, Bay Area, CA

…take care of your own backyard

meme_workingmylines-computer

#OAKLAND    “Take care of your own backyard, you just might find your Ancestors. ”    ~Claude Waters, Jr/R. Calloway                                                                                    
Is what my Grandfather used to say, I added the end of this quote as this wisdom did exactly that. So on a Saturday’s outcast of a day, atop a hill on Lincoln ave, is the 15th constructed temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, its cornerstone May of 1963, still one of Oakland’s prominent Landmarks. Among other buildings on-site is a jewel of an edifice, The Family History Center , a branch of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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#workingmylines to shed Ancestral light.                             ~#Oakland Temple on Lincoln ave

This Center is where my celebrated Genealogy Guardian & mentor, Ms Electra Price served as a volunteer back in ’89. For over 15 years her trailblazing works created pathways of greater discovery in African -Ancestored Genealogy, pioneering the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (Oakland based) and Afrigeneas.com. Ms Electra is also the grandmother of my beloved Dance-kinship, Ms Leah Kimble-Price, LMFT.

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Researching my Maternal Grandmother’s Paternal Patriarch “Amos Culverson” of abt 1830

Now that bit of history speaks volumes of living and Ancestral kinship. Imagine what your Ancestories will speak?! If you are searching or seeking and want to get started, look in your own backyard –up the hill though, and STILL OAKLAND.

workingmylines.com “Electra Price”
Regina “Califa” Calloway
#workingmylines
#nzoCALIFAncestry
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Oakland California FamilySearch
Library Genealogy
www.oaklandfhc.org

African American Genealogical
Society of Northern California
www.aagsnc.org

AfriGeneas
www.afrigeneas.com

 

 

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.

 

Revisiting Family Tree of Surnames

A

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

Honoring Our Family Matriarch – “Mama Elsie”

Honoring Our Family Matriarch - Mama Elsie
Honoring Our Family Matriarch – Mama Elsie

My Grandmother Mama Elsie is the Family History keeper on my maternal side – She has a mind keen like machete for these details. Thus as a result, generations of names are noted to record on both the COLEMAN and CULVERSON side of her lineage – WEST CARROLL PARISH LOUISIANA along with a legacy of Annual Family Reunions. On December 20th, our Family was bestowed with the esteem honor to elevate Our Family Matriarch celebrating 90 years upon this earth! A stellar initiative launched by her children a call to task for us grandchildren and the greats to follow through and a lesson for the great-greats to observe this all important rite. Over 100 attended in gathering December 20th at San Leandro’s Marina Inn in California from near and far warmed by long-time friends and Community kin. And you can imagine the food and faire that took place. We were ALL moved, graced and adorned by an abundance of wisdom of the day. I am still FULL and now introduce to you…

Ms. Elsie Waters aka “Mama Elsie”
December 24, 1924 – Darnell, Louisiana

Elsie is the daughter of Mabel Coleman and Grover Cleveland Culverson, born in Darnell, Louisiana December 24, 1924. She is the granddaughter to James Gabe and Hattie B Coleman on her maternal side and Papa Mel and Edna Gulley Culverson on her paternal side. Elsie attended and graduated Magnolia High School in Pioneer, Louisiana, then proceeded to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Later she migrated to Oakland California and obtained employment as a Storekeeper Manager at the Oakland Naval Supply. Soon after she attended Merritt College and received a Business Certificate in Accounting.
Her work history includes various employment with the Federal Government such as the Oakland Army Base and Internal Revenue Service working clerical for 12 years and for Alameda County Social Services as a Social Eligibility Tech, with her final working stint at Alameda County Medical Center as a Patient Billing Technician for sixteen years, ultimately retiring in 1989.

Elsie was married to Claude Waters Jr. (deceased) for over 52 years. She is the mother of five children (one deceased), thirteen grandchildren, twenty-three great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren. Elsie served on the board of directors and regional club council with her retirement union. She was an active member of the International Training Communication Council, Regional Club and held the office of President, as well as other positions.

“God has blessed me to travel to many wonders of the world (international abroad and domestic) with my Family and fellow travel companions, Bertha and Brenda Byes, Evelyn and Jimmie Wesley and Mr. Benny. We’ve traveled to places such as Cairo, Egypt, Ghana, Sedona Arizona, Cuba and Canada. We had many wonderful adventures such as riding camels and taking a cruise across the Nile River.”

Never forgetting her roots, Elsie often traveled cross-country, back to her native Louisiana. Mama Elsie’s highlights in the last few years were her travel to the Philippines accompanied with grandson Jon. Elsie had the privilege of a travel excursion to South Africa with her cousins and the choir from the Church of Eastbay. They had the very special honor to meet Nelson Mandela and his wife. It was a great excitement to South Africa for the sights, culture and lifestyles of the people.”

Her hobbies include reading, music, fishing and cooking. She also enjoys attending her home church, Acts Full Gospel, nurturing her Spiritual relationship with God. Mama Elsie shares:

“I am blessed that the Lord has spared me to be able to see 90.” “God Bless and keep you all, continue to enjoy your Life, counting your blessings along the way.”
~Mama Elsie

______________________
originally scribed by: Katie Waters, daughter
edited/updated by: Regina “Califa” Calloway, granddaughter
foto: @realsway on Instagram, grandson
design: nzo.califa

…Whose do you belong to?!

cropped-wml_pinkheadshot_blog-icon1.jpg2019 Note: With gratitude forward, these, reflections STILL speak Today, the 10th Anniversary Ancestral remembrance of my Father. And the abundance of Family has grown tremendously with Family History Research: Harris, Buggs, Robinson, Welch, Kennedy, Lynch, Hunter, Walston, VanHooks, Bennett, L(i)evingston & Howard.       I also share an amendment to my Tree confirming my 3X Great Grandparents as Jesse Calloway & Celia Calloway of Alabama, cited on the death certificate of their son my  GG-GFA-George Calloway. #workingmylines is a fantastic journey of healing.                                                 I invite you to read on and #givepraisetolife.

iba'e_A.Calloway2013
In observation and reverence of my beloved Father in this of Ancestral season of “Anba Dlo.”

Oct. 8, 2013, California — This walk of my life strongly reflects an aspect parallel to my Father’s journey, post fatherhood.  Before I knew him as my Father, I learned that he was born in Summerfield, LA, the youngest of 4, migrated to California at a young age with his Mother and Father, who later separated. In high school, he met my Mother on rebound and patiently courted, charming her into dating and eventually on “their 1st time” — then there was me. I learned that my birth was filled with the trials of a young Mother, classically partnered with a man facing the daunting responsibility of Fatherhood, both determined to “do the right thing.” And thus, the two were married 2 months before my birth. They loved, learned, struggled, and endured trials and triumphs to the tumultuous. Summerfield,LABoth were Louisiana reared in a traditional custom of staunch Family support by Grands and Greats to Uncles and Aunties.  My childhood was school everyday to church all Sunday; planting peas, making preserves to sewing and starching a shirt; running track to running the household chores; Friday fish fry to Family Reunions; from Black Power to Vietnam; cake walks, frog legs and “roaches” the kind that walked and the kind that made you “talk funny”.   My parents eventually divorced when I was 5 years old. –Bless them

At 5, with broom and belt in tow, I became instant lil’ mama, as I begin sweeping the house warning my brothers to behave — accepting a high sense of responsibility becoming independent and self-sufficient by default.  Often times my Father would resurface in my life phantom-like to instill the “fear of God” in me, and remind me to never forget to take care of my younger brothers.  While my maternal Grandparents were like my second parents on loan, my paternal Grandmother was a brash, wig wearing’, God-fearing’, church-going, haughty high-cheeked Lady who did not take to repeating herself.  She still lives where I grew up and had remarried a good-natured man named Brown, he transitioned some years back.

Although well-versed in Family History on my maternal side, I’d always wonder  where my paternal grandparents came from and what was their story.  Although my Grandmother and Brown were very good to us, she was very protective about talking about the past and didn’t speak too favorably of my biological grandfather. It wasn’t until after a severe stroke that, my Father’s “road home” revealed a potential loss to gain access about this side of my Family history.  However, at that time, my priority was to make certain his transition would be in the best care, knowing that he was well loved.  These preparations availed him the most fortunate moment before his passing — a reunion to make peace with the only Family he created.  After 30 years, we’d convene by his bedside: my Mother, his only wife and his 3 adult children.

On October 8, 2009, about 4-something in the morning, my Father took leave in peace and in sweet ease, with his children lightly sleeping at his bedside.  We spearheaded his Home-going ceremony, which was attended by both sides of his Family, friends, Homelessness advocates and scores of cousins.  The most profound presence at the ceremony, was his grieving mother who was compelled to sing an impromptu hymn to a now captivated audience.  Her haunting message in the midst of the song “… the bell has rung children, playtime is over! Time to come on in.”  I was pleased to receive a letter from my paternal Uncle’s church in Houston, as his Sister the Evangelist delivered “The Word”.  One of the most heartfelt moments at the Home-going was a down-to-earth letter submitted by an older cousin read aloud by my younger Brother, before the church; It revealed a rare glimpse as to what Our Father really thought of us — in some cases unbeknownst to us.

PineStWash
Pine St. “The Big Wash” Black Dot Artists, Inc / Congo SQ West – refreshment, atonement and renewal. W. Oakland – 2009

Of Heart and Home: In 2009, I also took leave, feeling somewhat displaced and needed to truly grieve as one of my cosmological poles had now fallen. During this period, in some ways like my Father, I submitted myself to a vulnerable path, accepting a vow of benevolence, and wanted to increase my action of faith, determined to shake the sediment of emotional transgressions inherited by Family ties.  With faith forward, I needed to strip and re-visit the depths of me and as a result my landscape changed swiftly…including home.  In the beginning, I found the most comfort in a friend’s car, couches, palettes, or sometimes a prepared room honoring my path.  Along the way, I cleansed, listened and mirrored testimonies a many, from West Oakland to Harlem, New Orleans and back.  Often reflecting and wondering if the works “took” – wondering, “ How is Daddy? or “Is he close? ” or sometimes thinking, “…maybe I don’t want to know.”

Picking back up “the lines” of my Family History from past research, I began honing my skills participating in a workshop in Harlem at the Schomberg Research for Research in Black Culture and the New York Public Main Library, conducted by the local Black Genealogy chapter Jean Sampson Scott AAGHS-NY chapter.  Upon first investigative attempt, not only did I come across a record of my Maternal great grandmother for the first time, later upon Ancestry.com census records, I’d quickly unravel at least 4 generations of patriarchal Calloways, whom I never met nor heard of except for my grandfather when I was two — I was completely stunned. Ever so critical, the code had been cracked. Since then, I have discovered scores of Calloways, centenarians even and enjoy a close relationship with my Father’s brother, my Uncle James.

CallowayLine1013
My Father’s passing was my catalyst in unearthing his Family line, revealing these names…2009

On this 4th Anniversary in observation and reverence of my Father’s transition, I infused the sparkling highlights of the ocean’s waves — I listen, petition and speak, marveling at the enormity of its breadth and depth where Souls dwell, pacts are made and Mami washes woes away in exchange for well wishes — T’ache’o.  I smile, because even at 5 years old, I knew my Father had to go and I mentally held space for him.  It’d be 4 years later after his death, that I’d recognize that my culminating trek today, somewhat remarked an aspect of my Father’s path (metaphorically speaking) who once said to me,  “…you know I just had to drop out of the system and deal with myself.”

www.cohsf.org
Alvin C. Calloway a mover/shaker advocate for Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco, CA

I’d find out later that he was a “mover and shaker” of the Coalition on Homelessness advocating for housing, shelter, Street Sheet program and affordable SRO’s for people in need, and so much more. I remember 2 months before his final departure, he’d painstakingly share how he’d watch our evolution, the shame of not being present, his pride and regretting the time wasted to make it right.  As I witnessed this narrow opening of painful truth, he shared that we had made it upon our own merits and felt he could not take any credit for that, except that we were Calloways. He had always been proud that his offspring would be the crowning glory of his legacy on earth.

[smile] This re-tell for me used to be heart-wrenching to share. However, learning that the heart is a working vessel, I’d strive to become stronger in love, light and of sweet ascension – today regaining a stronger sense of home, with his Ancestral presence ever so strong, in truth testament. ~Thank you Daddy, Love, Gina…

********************

~The after-life dream~

Him: [retort]   Whose do you belong to?

Me: [bewildered] You Daddy

Him: Alright then… [storms out]