Natchez made reunion wonderful
Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 22, 2007
It started in 1986 as a quest to find out “why” after 75 years of leaving their homes in Pine Ridge, Church Hill and the Delta a group of African Americans in Los Angeles, who considered themselves cousins, had such a strong sense of family and kinship. Our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents had always stressed the fact, whenever we were introduced in childhood, that “these are your cousins,” even when they didn’t explain “how” we were connected or related. In those days children did not ask questions of their elders, we just accepted the “facts” as they were stated to us.
In July 2007 we descendents returned to Natchez. Armed with evidence, which demonstrated how we are connected, we were determined to share the genealogy discovered with our kin.
The reunion in the Historic District of Natchez was historic on several levels. We convened at the Historic Eola Hotel, continued sharing our findings and research in the Historic Post Office and the museum of Afro-American Culture — NAPAC — worshipped in the historic churches St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal at Pine Ridge and Zion Chapel in Natchez.
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At the conclusion of our reunion, The Natchez Democrat reported on our reunion.
As if divinely guided, events unfolded which could not have been achieved by our planning as we had no knowledge of the elements that came together. Extraordinary would be an understatement.
I thank you Darryl White of NAPAC and Angie Singleton of the Eola Hotel, and the gracious residents of Natchez who warmly extended their hospitality and embraced us as family would.
Estella Person Akalonu
Los Angeles resident