A piece of my family history was recently included in the New York Times’ 1619 Project. My entry (posted below) is a 1936 newspaper article about my great-great grandmother Lucy Ann Jackson. Enslaved on a plantation in southwest Virginia until shortly after the Civil War, my great-great grandmother was identified in that 1936 article as the nation’s “oldest voter” at the age of 114.
American slavery is said to have begun in August of 1619 when a ship carrying 20 enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia. The 1619 Project recognizes the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery and highlights the many contributions of the enslaved African–and those that followed in their footsteps.
My great grandmother Momma Addie with four of her five children: Marie, Beatrice, Clarence and (front) my grandmother Virginia. Circa 1912.
For the past 4-5 years, I’ve been researching my family history. I’ve written about a great-great grandmother who was a slave on a plantation in southwestern Virginia and lived to be 113 years old, and a great grandfather (her son) who helped to found a Baptist church in Tarrytown, NY and in the early 1900s was the chauffeur for the president of New York Central Railroad.
The central figure in my family history is my great grandmother Addie Wilkins Jackson (or “Momma Addie”). Born in Virginia in 1875, she was in the first wave of African-Americans to leave the South and migrate North following the Civil War. She settled in Tarrytown, NY and married my great grandfather, Clarence “Papa Jack” Jackson, in 1893.
As Black History Month comes to a close, I plan to use it as a springboard to telling the story of the contributions of “Momma Addie” and the children she raised.