National Archives program will feature key records from black history

Feb 07, 2018
  • By Kenneth H. Thomas Jr.
  • For the AJC
AJC file photo

Records from some key moments black history will exhibited and discussed in an afternoon seminar at the National Archives at Atlanta.

Joel Walker, education specialist at the archives, will be the speaker at the Feb. 23 event, scheduled to take place from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.. It’s free and open to the public.

Walker will discuss historical records housed at the archives, including those involving the 1879 court case Robinson v. Memphis and Charleston Railroad, which sought to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1875; the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Riot of 1943; and multiple court cases brought by the NAACP legal team led by a young Thurgood Marshall. Other records from the collection span a period from about 100 years from the Civil War’s 1865 end to the 1960s.

This should be an interesting program and help people understand the vast amount of material located at the National Archives and Records Administration site, which covers eight southeastern states, not just Georgia. It’s located at 5780 Jonesboro Road in Morrow and is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a. m. until 5 p. m. for research. For more information on the event, contact Walker at 770-968-2530 or go to

Black genealogy resources

There are many places on the internet to go to find information on how to get started on researching your African-American genealogy. One place would be the website of the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. At, you will find a wealth of links leading to many places in the metro area to research and great websites linked directly there. If you join, there are many other great resources in the members-only section. The site also leads one to some great resource links, some not included above. Check it out. One can also begin their research by talking with the reference librarians at any area library with a genealogy collection, such as those at the Georgia Archives, the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s central library’s Special Collections, or the Georgia Room at the Switzer Library in Marietta.

Is an ancestor lost or just mis-indexed?

If you can’t find an ancestor in a published book’s index, an online index, or even via a digitized document search, like a newspaper, consider a few possibilities. Maybe the name is misspelled. Think of any way a name could be read wrong, pronounced wrong, or have letters transposed. In two cases I found, different men had dropped their surname. Anything is possible.