Thursday, February 3, 2022

Oklahoma Freedmen History Month 2022 Unfolds


February has arrived and there are numerous expressions and celebrations of "Black History Month" that are unfolding throughout the nation.  For genealogists of African descent of course every month is a celebration of "black history."

However, from the perspective of Oklahoma history, and "Black history" the story of Freedmen---those once enslaved on Oklahoma soil, and their descendants---the story is missing. Yet, before the Civil Rights era in Oklahoma, before the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, and before the emerging of the "black towns of the early 20th century, people of African descent were well documented and present on the soil of Indian Territory. Brought first as enslaved people, then later classified as "Freedmen" these survivors created communities, built schools, established churches and contributed to the history and culture of their time. 

Therefore it is time to honor our Freedmen ancestors and to celebrate Freedmen History Month. This can be done in multiple ways. Here are a few methods of celebrating Freedman History Month.

Methods of Celebrating Freedman History
-Share photos of your Okla. Freedman Ancestor in your social media groups.
-Write an article about your favorite Freedman Ancestor
-Share images of you Freedman Ancestral town or community.
-Take photos of important landmarks in your Freedman town
-Start a weekly blog about your Freedman community.
-Document on film your visit to the Freedman family burial ground.
-Interview a Freedman elder descendant about their life and share that interview.
-Explore some newspapers sites to find stories of the Freedman community.
-Tell a story that you have heard about your Freedman family.
-Take pictures of the old homestead where your family once lived.

Create Your Own Celebration Schedule
You can honor your history any way you wish.

Daily Option:

-You may wish to post a photo every day of your freedman family.
-If you are a writer or blogger, commit to writing a piece every day--short or long--about your history, or family or community
-If your Freedman ancestor was a crafter, share an image each day of their work---quilts, clothing, woodworking masonry work, art.

Weekly Option:
-Select one Freedman ancestor each week and devote the week about him/her. 
-Interview one elder each week to collect some additional information about the family.
-Speak to anyone in the community who can talk about the old school where Freedmen attended.
-Share one family artifact each week.

Step Outside the Box---Get Creative
-Musical Talent? Write a song about the Freedman History (Ode to an Ancestor)
-Write a story featuring the Freedman ancestor as central character.
-Draw or paint rendering a Freedman ancestor or the whole family, at their work (farming, teaching, preaching, building, etc.)
-Broadcast your passion for Freedman history: Create or host a blog radio show, or create a Freedman Youtube channel.
-Create a journal! Historical Journals can be once a year, or quarterly, or monthly! Create one. -Collaborate with others and become proactive with a unique project! (A mural, or an anthology of stories about the community, or assemble a team to create a montly or yearly journal about the Freedmen ancestors.

You are only limited by your own imagination!

Honor the ancestors during Freedman History Month! It could lead to new ventures in new arenas! Such an undertaking could bring about changes in your own life.

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