Monday, August 31, 2009
I was the only black person who consistently participated in the group and I lived across town from the rest of them. My family did not have a car, but members of the Bible study, who either had their own cars or access to the cars of their parents, would give me a ride to our numerous gatherings outside of school. We had many gatherings at each other’s homes where we would have fun and fellowship. Because of the love shown to me from members of this group, I was able to participate in many of these gatherings. They didn’t have to take the time to drive across town (about a half hour or more), and give me a ride to the gatherings, but they did and I am eternally grateful to them for their demonstration of care and love.
On the occasion of this photo, a few members of the group came to my house for fellowship. (left to right) Chris (on guitar), Debbie (standing), Laura (sitting), and Brenda (holding music stand).
Today, I get together for monthly fun, food, and fellowship with three of the members of this Bible Study. BTW, I have my own car now, so I no longer have to depend on them for transportation. (Smile)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
During my visit, I also learned that I could access articles from my local newspaper (1997 to present) from my home computer by using my library card number to access the newspaper database through the library’s website. I was aware of this technology through college library websites, but had never tried using it. Access to online newspapers have enabled me to research the obituaries of family members who died after 1997 as well as other articles on various subjects related to my genealogy research.
With online newspapers, I like being able to search for whatever keywords and then downloading or emailing the text from article.
Newspapers can be an invaluable tool in advancing your genealogy research. For more information on the benefits of using newspapers in genealogy research, view this video.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
This photo of my high school friend Laura and I was taken on a Sunday at the retreat. I don’t remember a lot of details about the structure of the retreat, but I do remember having some type of worship service on Sunday before we left. That would explain why Laura and I are wearing skirts.
Laura and I met in high school through a bible study we had during our lunch period. She graduated in 1982 and I graduated in 1981. It was a pleasure to fellowship with her at Eagle Eyrie during our college days and to meet some of her college friends. Starting sometime after 2003, when I turned 40, Laura and I, and a few other friends from our high school bible study, began getting together every month for food, fun, and reminiscing about the “good old days.”
When this photo was taken, it was way after Labor Day and so why am I wearing white shoes? I loved these shoes which I purchased for my high school graduation in 1981. Obviously, I did not care about violating the “no white shoes” after Labor Day rule.
For more about the history of the Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center, visit this site.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
On Sunday, I visited the cemetery again to get a better picture of the grave marker. I only moved the bottles that covered the writing on the grave marker of this young man. Still, even with the bottles repositioned, this makes an interesting photo of a grave marker decorated with beer bottles and gold praying hands.
In an attempt to understand the reason for this beer bottle grave, I shared this photo with some family members and genealogy friends on MyFamily.com. One family member believed that this was some type of ritual; a genealogy friend enlightened me about this ritual with the comments below.
"I have seen this also, especially for certain "club" motorcycle riders. Some
have had one beer bottle at the gravesite, which I believe to be the deceased's
favorite beer. One like this with several bottles makes me believe a group of
friends came and partied with him. Especially since one of the bottles is still
capped, that would be Rashed's beer. I would assume (bad thing to do I know)
that at one time these bottles were all standing up on the headstone."
On Sunday, August 9th, I looked at the date of death more closely and noticed that this was the 6th anniversary of Rashed's death. I found this bottle arrangement on Saturday, the 8th. Therefore, I assume that Rashed's friends may have partied at their friend's grave, possibly on Friday night to commemorate his death and life.
For me, this is certainly an interesting alternative to just decorating a grave with flowers.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
After walking around a certain section of the cemetery and taking photos of interesting looking grave makers, I decided to drive around the rest of this huge 100-year-old historically black cemetery. As I reached a dead end, the grave maker below caught my attention.
“Michaux” (pronounced like “Miss-Shaw”)---I always loved the sound of that name when I heard my grandmother say it as she talked about a minister in her community. As I looked closer at the grave marker, I discovered that this was the final resting place of the Elder Michaux and his wife that my grandmother remembered. This is quite an elaborate grave maker especially when compared with the others in this huge cemetery. The large size of this marker is what caught my attention.
Later, I showed my grandmother the digital photos of the grave maker. She was surprised that the Michaux’s were buried in the Hampton Roads area because she thought that they had been buried in Washington, D.C. She commented that Michaux was the “Happy Am I” radio preacher and that he and his wife Mary looked like white people. “Happy Am I” was the song that became Elder Michaux’s theme song. Even though I didn’t think that a black preacher would have been on television during Elder Michaux’s lifetime, I still asked my grandmother if he had been on television. “Yes,” she said. I was amazed and impressed and excited about finding more information on the life of this great preacher.
Later that afternoon, I searched the Internet for more information and found Elder Michaux’s obituary listed in a newspaper index. I can’t wait to go to the library to read and copy the obituary. I also found other biographical websites and learned that Elder Michaux was not just a local preacher, but his ministry had spread worldwide, to large cities such as Washington, D.C. and that he was on both radio and television.
My best and most treasured finding on the Internet was a YouTube video of Elder Michaux and his congregation singing. Since I found it, I have played it continuously, downloaded it to my computer, and shared it with some online genealogy friends and my grandmother. As my grandmother watched the video, she commented that Elder Michaux was much younger in the video than she remembered. By the time she knew him, he was elderly and gray-haired. This would have occurred after the mid 1940s when she moved to the neighborhood of Elder Michaux’s church. Grandma also commented that the way the ladies in the audience jumped to the music was a common practice she observed in this church when she visited them at the Newport News church and at tent meetings on 16th and Jefferson Avenue.
“Do you think this video was recorded at the Newport News church? I asked her.”
“No,” it must have been at the D.C. church,” she replied.
For more information on Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, visit the following websites.
Friday, August 7, 2009
This is my Aunt Lucy Bullock Russell (1882-1967) and her husband Norvell Russell (1872-abt. 1952.) Aunt Lucy was a sister of my great-great grandfather Andrew Bullock (1862-1915). The chain in this photo may have been part of a pocket watch.
Aunt Lucy and Uncle Norvell's daughter Queen (1907-2003) is dressed beautifully in her pearl earrings, necklace, and bracelet, along with other chain bracelets and possibly a watch. Like many women of her generation, Cousin Queen is wearing a hat to church.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Bessie was described as “a starch supporter and defender of the Gospel and a “real mother in Zion, the epitome of holiness, and stood for truth and righteousness” Undoubtedly she, as well as her five sisters (Bell, Mollie, Mima, Channie, and Nancy) were influenced by their mother Luvenia, who is most remembered for the way she entered church shouting “Holy!” and praising the Lord. (Read more on page 2) Bessie and all of her sisters are also remembered as women who loved and praised the Lord and they lived their lives dedicated unto him. During their adult years, the Bullock sisters delighted in seeing each other and praising the Lord together.
Bessie accepted Jesus as her personal savior at a young age. In a 1980 interview for a church newsletter, her sister Bell, who was known as a woman of strength, joy, and spiritual vitality, recalled her own salvation experience.
“I accepted Jesus as my savior as a young girl. My soul could not rest until I received God’s redeeming grace and I fasted all week while working in the fields until the Lord changed my life. After my salvation experience, God sanctified me and baptized me with his Holy Spirit.”
The six Bullock sisters and their brother John were active in church during their adult lives. I do not know anything about the spirituality or church affiliation of the other brothers, Andrew (who moved to Queens, NY), James (who was a barber), or Joseph, (the youngest who died at age 27 in 1932). Bessie and her sister Mollie were member of Saints Delight Holy Church in Drewry, NC; Nancy, Morning Star Holy Church in Vance County, NC; Channie, St. John Holy Church in Richmond, VA; Mima moved to Pennsylvania and I do not know the name of the church she attended; and Bell, Union Chapel Holy Church, Ridgeway, NC. John Bullock and his wife Lucinda were gospel singers who sang at churches in the Warren/Vance county region. I think they may have attended Burchette Chapel Church in Vance County.
Bessie was also a member of her mother’s church, Veanus Chapel House of Prayer, which was a log building built next to her mother’s house in Drewry. Bessie’s husband Alfred Carroll was a trustee of Veanus Chapel. After she moved to Elizabeth, NJ in 1958, she joined Guiding Star United Holy Church where she served as Adult Sunday School Teacher, Vice-President of Women’s Day, and member of the North New Jersey District Devotional Committee, Noon Day Prayer Leader, and Church Mother.
Bessie was known for her starworth testimony and song,
“I love Jesus, he’s my Savior
Storms are raging, he’s my shelter
Where he leads me, I will follow
I love Jesus and he loves me.”
Other favorite songs were “I’m Saved” and “To the Mount.” After her fiery testimony she would go forth in a dance of praise and thanksgiving. Her sisters are also remembered for their fiery testimonies and dancing and praising God.
In an interview in 1980, Grandma Bell summed up the mission and purpose of her life. Based on the way they lived their lives, this was also likely the mission and purpose for her mother and sisters.
"I don’t want my light to get dull, I want my light to shine bright so men can see the good works and glorify the Father. I ain’t got no bad works, but I want my light to shine bright. I let my light shine so that black and white can see Jesus in me."