Black Lives in Alabama's Black Belt Region
About This Site
I started this site because I wanted to write about the lives of the black people who worked the fertile soil of the Alabama Black Belt. It has evolved instead into a compilation of genealogical records. That wasn't my intention and I hope to some day forge a narrative about these ordinary people.
You can help by sending me your family's story if they were from this area. And send records too. They're the documentation.
My roots are in Alabama. If someone were to ask "What are you? . . . Where are you from?", I'd have to answer that I'm Alabamian (and Jamaican-Cuban on my mother's side). Alabama is the closest I can come to as a place of origin, as an ancestral home.
My dad's people were from Wilcox County at the place where Wilcox, Dallas, Marengo and Perry counties come together. His mother's people worked the land off Hwy 28 in Boiling Spring (Catherine) first as slaves, then as tenant farmers from the 1850's onward, maybe earlier. They were founders and pillars of the Bethel AME and Boiling Spring Baptist churches in that community. Some of them also worshipped at Sidney Chapel AMEZ just over the Marengo County line in Consul. My dad spent the summers of his boyhood there visiting his great grandmother, Mary Jones, and his memories of that time, of the land and the people, were the starting points for my research.
I don't know as much about my father's father. Grandpa was almost 60 years old when my father was born and passed away when Dad was 23. What I know of him I've gleaned mostly from older relatives. I do know that he lived in the Rehoboth area from age 19 (ca 1880) where I found him in the census until 1919 when he moved his family to Selma. During his Wilcox County years he married twice and fathered 21+ children by his wives and two other women that he didn't marry; he had one more child in Selma. He was a tenant farmer for most of his life and a carpenter. He was an early member of Pine Grove Baptist Church in Rehoboth. After he moved to Selma he became a deacon of Sylvan Street Presbyterian Church.
Where did he come from? Who were his people? These are the questions that have absorbed so much of my time, that have led me to genealogy and ultimately online and to the creation of this and my other websites.
Please visit my personal website - My Family Ties - to read more of my story and to see whether we're related.
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Black Families of Alabama's Black Belt