Tag Archives: wikitree

Learning the language of Family History, and Choosing your Hill…

Tracing one’s family, particularly a family full of mostly Enslaved Persons, and some Free People of Color (free before the Civil War and subject to the Black Codes in most states), means learning the language of genealogy, and then learning your own family language, with names that run in families, especially middle names, and have certain meanings known only to the inner circle at that time. In order to survive, each of those People of Color had to decide and choose which hill they wanted to die upon: the hill of passing for White, in some cases, despite loosing family to do so, the hill of fighting to educate Colored people, despite the many hurtles, as my 2xs great grandfather and his daughter, in her turn, did, or the hill, today, of bearing the torch to help educate all people, as many of us are choosing in this difficult time.

What hill do you choose to die on? Building or choosing ‘Found Family’ for me is about connecting deeply and personally with other folks who share my values, as my great Aunt Sr. Mary Felix Manzilla did, when she joined the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first Catholic sisterhood open to Colored women, in 1914. I seek to help build community that honors safety and Enough for All, and is willing to die upon the hill of Empathy and Compassion, fighting for Everyone to have Enough of Everything

(… taking a quick “station break” for some Standing Action Items on that:
1.) Tell your local Transit Board to build more LightRail stops,
2.) Tell your local city council to hire more librarians, add social workers and nurses to the library staff, and add washing stations to Public Library bathrooms,
3.) Ask your Community College Provost to give free classes on State Law Basics covering local land, property, contract and Statutes of Limitations laws (with shuttle bus service from poor neighborhoods!),
4.) Ask your State Senators and Reps to pass Universal Health Care in your state, and tell your Congressmen to do likewise at the Federal level.

that Every Human Being needs to live with human dignity. But I seek that community as one looking to build personal family connections, to walk, to teach, and eat together, to look after one another and if necessary, to die for and with one another. In other words, Family, like my great aunt found, with the OSP.

Dear Readers, please consider the people and institutions linked above, and

Action Items:

1.)    Share your Hill, if you wish.

2.)     Simply Google your town’s Mass Transit Authority, to see if you have a Light Rail.  Then, if you have one, ask them to expand it!  🙂  If not, ask them how a simple and cheap tolley or light rail line could be put in.

You are now returned to your regularly scheduled #PublicDomainInfrastructure through #LanguageLearning channel (& I return to my #WiP!): please stand by…

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19

August, 12020 HE

Stop modern lynchings by learning languages, and getting ProBono Legal education for land owners

Some languages help us communicate, while other languages help us make things run smoothly. Computer languages and legal language are examples of the latter. To understand computer languages, one studies computer science, and to understand legal language, one studies the law and policies active in the state of residence. But not all of us have the opportunity to study the crucial legal language that governs much of our existence, and the consequences of that unequal knowledge can be devastating.

Lynching once occurred physically, but now happens financially, through the court system all across the South, and make no mistake, it is just as murderous, and just as racist:

“…42% of the cases involved black families, despite the fact that only 6% of Carteret’s population is black. Heirs not only regularly lose their land; they are also required to pay the legal fees of those who bring the partition cases. In 2008, Janice Dyer, a research associate at Auburn University, published a study of these actions in Macon County, Alabama. She told me that the lack of secure ownership locks black families out of the wealth in their property. ”

That is, land that is owned by their families.

Historically separate and highly unequal educational systems have also contributed to this system:

“A former state politician named Thomas Limehouse, who owned a luxury hotel nearby, bought Reed’s property at a tax sale for $2,000, about an eighth of its value. Reed had a year to redeem her property, but, when she tried to pay her debt, officials told her that she couldn’t get the land back, because she wasn’t officially listed as her grandmother’s heir; she’d have to go through probate court. Here she faced another obstacle: heirs in South Carolina have 10 years to probate an estate after the death of the owner, and” you can only do that if you know how to probate an estate, which you can only do if you know what it means to probate an estate.

Like my 2xs Great Grandfather Wayne Anthony Manzilla, many Black men were killed “between 1890 and 1920 because whites wanted their land.”

The problem with land law is that it is often “co-opted by big business. One lawyer said that people saw it as a scheme ‘whereby rich men could seize the lands of the poor.’ Even lawyer Nelson Taylor acknowledged that it was abused… his own grandfather had lost a 50-acre plot to (the) Torrens (law). ‘First time he knew anything about it was when somebody told him that he didn’t own it anymore,’ Taylor said. ‘That was happening more often than it ever should have.’ ”

And it should never happen.

“The leading cause of Black involuntary land loss,’ heirs’ property is estimated to make up more than a third of Southern black-owned land — 3.5 million acres, worth more than $28 billion. These landowners are vulnerable to laws and loopholes that allow speculators and developers to acquire their property. Black families watch as their land is auctioned on courthouse steps or forced into a sale against their will.”

So, what can we do about this? Well, several things. To help stop this injustice, at least 4 Action Items spring to mind:
1.)    Please consider giving your time, your cash, or your attention by sharing via your social and personal or business networks to The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, in South Carolina, and:
2.)   Please consider reading and sharing publications by ProPublica, a non-profit that spreads the word on these matters together with potential solutions, and

3.)   Please read, review, and share Dr. Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, because “42% of the cases involved black families, despite the fact that only 6% of Carteret’s population is black.” so, it really is about race.

4.)   OR:  Simply search for the term “Statute of Limitations” on Google, or your favorite search engine, to see how states like SC prevent heirs like Ms. Reed from probating their property.  If you have the energy, please share your findings with someone, over FaceBook, Twitter, or the phone.

Please share your ideas for increasing Legal and Financial Literacy and opportunity for ALL of us!

This post is dedicated to my Great Great grandparents Wayne Anthony, murdered for succeeding, and his wife Maude Eleanor West Manzilla, who never gave up her legal suit to clear his name of the suicide charge by the life insurance company, and worked valiantly to keep her family together. Their descendants continue their work.

Quotes for this post came from a recent ProPublica article co-published with The New Yorker.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19

August, 12020 HE

Teaching UUs in CA

This JuneChurchCampClassesTaughtPlans is my lesson plan from the All-Church camp held in June, 1-3rd, up in the mountain camp called DeBenneville Pines, north of San Diego, CA.  I wanted to teach Greek Folk Dance, and I also responded to a request for someone to teach on Family History, thus also fulfulling my duty via WikiTree to connect others to our Human Family Tree.


Black and Jewish Americans fight together for human dignity… in Spain…

As we discussed my all time favorite show, El Ministerio del Tiempo (sorry B5!!), a friend recently told me that one of her relatives had fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Lincoln Brigade which turned out to have been known officially as the Lincoln Batallion.

Looking into the history of the Lincoln Batallion, I found, among others, Oliver Law, a Black man who had to leave the USA to become the first African-American in US history to command a military unit (not counting NCOs during the US Civil War like Robert A. Pinn, who picked up the standard and command after the deaths of all of his officers), during the Spanish Civil War.

In total, one Black woman and 54 Black men volunteered from the United States, where they were treated with disdain, to fight racism and oppression on the other side of the Atlantic. They hoped to change things back home in the US, and they were following the calling of their consciences, to fight racism and oppression where they could: in Europe.  For Tom Page, it was the first time he was treated with human dignity, and for Salaria Kea, the only Black woman to volunteer, it was a dashing of hopes upon returning home.  But for all, it was honorable service to humanity.

Like Delmer Berg, the last surviving American to travel to Spain, 1/3 of the volunteers were Jewish. This was in keeping with a long but little-known tradition of cooperation between the Black and Jewish communities well before the 1960s.  In that sacred tradition, led by Dr. King, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Gandhi and many others, we must continue the cooperation between individuals, families, communities and states that so desperately needs to continue, to move us all forward as a united human race.

May all of their memories be a blessing to us all, and a reminder of Human Cooperation
Zichronam LiVrachah,
Shira Destinie Jones

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
March 16th, 12017 HE


– Free People of Color, 1855 Washington (now DC)

2011-08-08 16:52:00
gender-diffs among Black landowners in Wash. County, 1855… Curious…
I do not have time now, but I am dying to look into why (on p. 127 of Washington at home: An illustrated history of neighborhoods in the nation’s capital; second edition, 2010, JHU Press, Kathryn Schneider Smith, ed.)

4 of the 5 black landowners in what is now roughly the Brightwood neighborhood (via the 1855 Washington County assessment listing 31 landowners along the 7th St. Turnpike, opened in 1822, from Rock Creek Church Rd to the District Line

(presumably meaning to what was then Boundary Street, now FL ave., marking the border of the Federal City, aka City of Washington)  Line, were women.

No time to delve, must check this wonderful book out again in a few weeks!

(still interesting, and still no time… Must remember to add this comment and book ref. to Slavery Project on WikiTree -anybody have time to take over the Project, please??)
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

23 February, 12016 HE