Tag Archives: MAAGI

rootstech: Check your Spiritual DNA

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.

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


*[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.


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.”

photo: courtesy Afrigeneas.com web guru on Facebook


Greetings from St. Louis #MAAGI finale

Greetings from St. Louis! 

On an amazing journey, making tracks to build lasting legacies.  Just finished co-producing a blogtalk radio show segment I spoke about last post.  This was a “Blogtalk” class project was commissioned to Track 4 participants “Genealogy as a Profession” by one our Teachers Ms. Bernice Bennett, granting us the opportunity to broadcast a show on her popular program “Ancestors Footprints”.  Launched LIVE July 10, 2013, from #‎MAAGI at the Historical Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, MO, listen in as Institute classmate Callie Flournoy-Riser shares her #‎genealogy journey to Cameroon with our class host Gary Franklin. Here’s the broadcast link: http://bit.ly/134oWEp and below is my Track 4 classmates.

#Dancestory- #STL - at MAAGI
Track 4 class – “Genealogy as a Profession” coordinated by Angela Walton-Raji
#STL- Lobby Greeting at B.F.L.

Part of my #Dancestory2013 mission is to participate in cultural exchange with kinship organizations of the African Dance and Drum Community to invoke dialogue about our Family Histories, while exploring cultural connections. Through Kreative Pandemonium, I was invited to teach a Afro-Cuban Diaspora Dance/lec at the historic Better Family and Life Center led by DeBorah and Malik Ahmed. To be greeted warmly by students of the Community and to encounter the powerful artistry of Mardi Gras Indian traditions was a wonderful welcome; I along with many have have sewn a few of the pieces of this very suit by the Zulu Family of New Orleans, worn by Chief Shaka Zulu of Yellow Pocahontas, member of 200 year legacy founded by the legendary Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana. Mind you, every stitch counts for such a monumental task taking about a year to complete.  God Bless the Mardi Gras Indian tradition.

#STL- #Dancestory2013 - KP
#STL HOT topic 24/7 aka “

My “KP” kinship began with long time Brethren Weedie Braimah,  leading to meeting his life-partner Andrea Peoples a whirlwind of familiar hospitality and a creative force, both imbued with long-standing music traditions in their own heritage stemming from New Orleans and the infamous Temptations, respectively. Their Organization/ Band/ Family Kreative Pandemonium, so aptly named breeds a powerful movement of sound filled with deep soulful grooves, intricately woven with West African Ancestral calls, historical Jazz runs, flipped with #STL swagg all day and them some.  I was privy to some of the rehearsals and was compelled to do a jig on the spot in my little corner, because this was NOT sit down music – AND, the musicality is on HIT!

Wearing my red Fogo  2004 “Kongo Ya Bakoko” shirt in tribute to the legacy of the Ancestors, the class opened up naturally to honor St. Louis’ infamous Cultural Ambassador and treasure Ms. Katherine Dunham.  As I shared my own Dunham #Dancestory citing my Mother, Patricia Waters-Calloway whose teacher was Ms. Ruth Beckford, Dunham Biographer, toured with Ms. Dunham in 1943, celebrated 1st Lady of Oakland Dance and Professor Elendar Barnes, Founder of the Laney College Dance Department and Co-Founder of Dimensions Dance Theater, later to further ignite my own passion under the aegis of Mentor/High-school Dance teacher Paula Fleury-Mc Cullum, with a myriad of Dunham emissaries along the way.  I reflect favorable upon an fortunate opportunity to meet Ms. Dunham at San Francisco’s Festival 2000 in 1990, where as a Marketing/PR associate I was privy to accommodate her general needs and to observe a class she instructed masterfully from here chair at Laney College. Later in 2006, I’d participate in a “Living Birthday Card” choreography, honoring her 97 years on earth, presented by the Dunham Legacy Project of Northern California at Laney College. For my first class in the #STL, we started in 1st position parallel, working plies, undulations,  parallel flat back, rhythmic isolations, then onto progressions – warmed up to a sweat dancing for Palo, adding some heat with Ogun and hit a frenzy with a little Vodou-Arara ,all in dedication to them- here and beyond. I had a great time and love the energy of “da Lou” filled with generations of deep-soul Dance and Drum folks. #grateful

#Dancestory2013 - #STL
#STL- R. Califa teaches Afro Cuban Dance #STL Better Family and Life w/KP
#Dancestory2013 - #STL Drummers
#STL Drummers Led by Weedie Braimah of Kreative Pandemonium

IMG_1867I am ushered to highlight the Bay Area’s African-Ancestored #Dancestory, so inspired by the tenacious Soul-searing ground works like that of my Sis-kin Amara Tabor Smith and the talented Dance mediums of “Ed Mock-manifestations” giving us signs that “We and They” want to be heard.  In shared works and more, I too pose the question:

“How shall we preserve and archive vital information that   transcends generations, and inform these times?”

To this, I relish these thoughts:  My living Grandmother allowing me to perform data entry on her job computer at 14, being a Mac User since 1984 and my Grandfather [deceased] urging me to re-do his Family History documents on a newly purchased Mac to appease my Grandmother, knowing that I’d “hang around”.  We produced our first Family history book – #Walston 1993,  taking it next level in 1994 on the matrilineal side, lead by my Grandmother – #Coleman/Culverson.

Yet, when I think of my experience at Midwestern African-American Genealogy Institute this year in St. Louis, I think back that just a couple of months ago, my family buried my 1st cousin who was my age…Her beautiful transcendental Spirit of perseverance is my fast pass to live my life NOW, which lead to my Scholarship Award from Afrigeneas.com making it possible to attend #MAAGI.

It shall always be an indelible print upon my memory, taking our inaugural class picture, my eyes welling up in quiet pride. I shook my head, because I could see my grandfather smiling and sense Ancestors applauding for this moment was truly historical and I was a part of it–for the record. #Dancestory2013-STL

#MAAGI2013 Inaugural Class
Inaugural Class of the Midwestern African-Am     Genealogy Institute, July 2013
Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, Missouri

*For more information about #Dancestory2013  [just click link]

**Special thank you to Institute Founders, Directors, Coordinators, Professors and Experts. A very special thanks to Charles Brown, Jr and Angela Walston-Raji along with the tenacious works and hospitality of the St. Louis African American Genealogy Institute. Pleased to be in the esteemed kinship of Kreative Pandemonium and Better Family Life Cultural, Educational and Business Center, and Community Dancers, Instructors and Drummers.

***Hail Up: Baba Bro. Rodney Lindor of Haiti, Bokulaka, Black Repertory Theatre, 14th Street Artist Community, Sabayet Inc., Dr. David Imhotep, Baba Kenya Ajanaku, and the New African Paradigm Study Group and my roomies from the Afro-American Genealogy Historical Society of Chicago.

#WINNER – AfriGeneas Scholarship Award

#WINNER – AfriGeneas Scholarship Award

#Dancestory2013 NEWS: *still recovering from a natural high* – THIS EVE, I received notification of CONGRATULATIONS as the recipient of the AfriGeneas Scholarship Award Scholarship recipient covering tuition to study at the Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI)! Certainly the crown piece of my sojourn, as I’ll prepare to be immersed in 4 lectures a day over a 3 day period. 2013 marks the Institute’s inaugural year featuring genealogy leaders and experts specializing in African Ancestored family history research, held at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, Missouri. My Study track Genealogy as a Profession  will be conducted by the illustrious Angela Y. Walton-Raji, nationally renown researcher and founding member of Afrigeneas.com, where participants will focus upon strategies for teaching, lecturing, writing and taking our practice to the next level and so much more, #RiteOn. I humbly thank Afrigeneas.com, MAAGI, the one above & the “divine9” representing the jumpoff! http://www.gofundme.com/Dancestory2013


note: Interested in tracing your roots, don’t know where to start, here’s the perfect place “the beginning” with Angela Y. Walton-Raji’s site:  http://beginninggenealogist.com/