The GU272 Descendants Association and the River Road African American Museum are co-hosting a Genealogy Gathering at the Ascension Parish Courthouse, 300 Houmas St., Donaldsonville, Saturday, June 24, 9am-3pm
“This Genealogy Gathering to help descendants with the process of researching their family tree and learning more about the history of the Jesuits of Georgetown University and their sale of our ancestors to Louisiana. Descendants will meet other descendants and share family information as they figure out how they may be related to each other. You are encouraged to bring your laptop if applicable, note paper, your family tree information and any other information you may want to share at this gathering,” said organizers.
“272 slaves were sold to save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants? In 1838, the Jesuit priests who ran the country’s top Catholic university needed money to keep it alive. Now comes the task of making amends.”
The meeting is free to the public, but registration required. Learn more and find your ancestors. You may be a descendant, if your family surnames are: Hill, Harris, Butler, West, Ford, Queen, Hawkins, Dorsey, Ware, Lewis, Henry, Green, or Brown.Read more »
Buy the Book,Events,Submitted News admin
For the first time ever, a limited number of people will experience live, the on-site telling of a key story hidden from people of Louisiana. Join us for this unique tour with the author who recently verified and chronicled the story in his book, The Thibodaux Massacre. The Feb. 18 tour will begin at 10 am from the Road African American Museum, 406 Charles Street, Donaldsonville, and continue down Bayou Lafourche to Thibodaux, returning to Donaldsonville at 3 pm.
As part of its “When History Hurts” program, the River Road African American Museum (RRAAM) is sponsoring a day-long bus tour of Louisiana’s sugar cane country, which will include the site where striking Black laborers were buried after a mass murder that ended an 1887 tri-parish strike. The incident has since become known as the Thibodaux Massacre. John DeSantis, author of ‘The Thibodaux Massacre: Racial Violence and the 1887 Sugar Cane Labor Strike,” will share vivid details of this history and other events from a chartered bus making stops at locations relevant to the story. The tour includes a stop in Thibodaux where victims of the massacre are believed buried, where plans are afoot for archeological exploration by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Critically acclaimed for its thorough research, the book is interwoven with the story of Jack Conrad, a former Lafourche Parish slave who joined the U.S. Army during the Civil War. After fighting for his freedom with other Black soldiers, he is wounded in the massacre 22 years later while watching vigilantes kill his son and others participating in the strike.
“Much of this hurtful history until now has been unknown,” said DeSantis. “This is a story of empowerment, because 25 years after emancipation these courageous people dared standing up to an oppressive culture of white supremacy.”
The tour is limited to 55 people and the tour price is $75 which includes:
* A signed copy of the book, The Thibodaux Massacre
* A tour of the River Road African American Museum
* A private bus tour narrated by the author
The museum’s director, Kathe Hambrick, said this special tour is meant to be “a healing tour” in the memory of those resilient sugar workers who lost their lives fighting for fare wages and equality. The history is painful, but we cannot move forward with reconciliation until there is acknowledgement of the injustices that happened right here in our own communities.
For more information, call 225-206-1225.Read more »
In the Issue,News admin
DONALDSONVILLE – THE RIVER ROAD African American Museum started as a vision to tell the stories of the Black slaves who worked on plantations in south Louisiana, but over the past 22 years, the RRAAM has expanded to also tell the stories of freedom, resilience, and reconciliation. Kathe Hambrick-Jackson, inspired to be the voice of the people who provided the slave labor to sugarcane plantations in Ascension Parish, spent three years researching before opening the non-profit museum. Her research showed her the wider mission of educating the public with the full story of her ancestors’ journey. “When I went on plantation tours, there was no mention of slavery whatsoever,” Hambrick-Jackson said. “They would sometimes refer to the Black people who worked on the plantation as servants or workers.”
RRAAM opened its doors in March of 1994 on the Tezcuco Plantation on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Ascension Parish. On Mother’s Day 2002, a fire destroyed the museum and it was relocated to the corner of Railroad Avenue and St. Charles Street in downtown Donaldsonville and it has remained there for the past 13 years.“It’s really been a good thing for us to move here in Donaldsonville, because of the history,” said Hambrick-Jackson.“It is the third oldest city in the state; it was the capitol before Baton Rouge in 1830; and Donaldsonville had America’s first Black mayor,Pierre C. Landry, elected in 1868.”RRAAM is filled with artifacts, art, and information that highlights important figures from Black history and how they relate to Louisiana, as well as important historic south Louisiana events.“We are a public history institution and it is important that this museum remains open so we can clarify the difference between fact and fiction, and teach the next generation no matter what their ethnic background is,” Hambrick-Jackson said. “It is important that people around the world know that we as African Americans have made a tremendous contribution to the economy and the cultureof this world and that is what this museum is about.”
A red room is the first thing visitors see when entering the museum. It features the history of the people enslaved in the south Louisiana region. The room showcases famous photos, runaway“wanted” ads,historic artifacts, and names of slaves. One photo that stands out is of a Louisiana slave named Gordon. His name isn’t famous,but his picture has become one of the most recognizable and redistributed photos in history. The famous photo of Gordon, taken in Louisiana, has been shown worldwide.“Gordon’s story is really unique, he was a slave in Mississippi who escaped three times,” Hambrick-Jackson said. “He made his way to Baton Rouge and joined the Union Army, and it was the Union doctors who took the photo that so many of us has become familiar with.” Hambrick-Jackson said she believed Gordan’s story was special because he was a slave who didn’t travel north, but stayed in the South to become a part of the Louisiana Underground Railroad.“When we think about freedom, resilience, and reconciliation, Gordon is one of those names that needs to be lifted up,” she said.
The yellow room exhibits reconstruction, Black inventors,and the musical history of Louisiana.“People do not realize that Madam C.J. Walker was born in Delta, Louisiana,” Hambrick-Jackson said. “One thing we emphasize at this museum is that Madam C.J Walker was the first female entrepreneur millionaire. She did not inherit the money,and she did not marry the money, she made the money on her own by building her own enterprises at the time when we did not have telephones or fax machines. She hired more than 2,000 women around the world.” Hambrick-Jackson added that Walker’s story helps accentuate the freedom message the museum portrays. The final room showcases famous Black rural doctors. “If you look at these exhibit as you leave the museum, we often ask the question how did these men make it to medical school and graduate one generation out of slavery.” Hambrick-Jackson said. “Certainly, if those men could make it to medical school one generation out of slavery, there is nothing young people can’t achieve today.Read more »