Thursday, November 29, 2012

Daughter & a Visitor

I have my own "Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day" going on. My daughter will be with me at the office for the next few weeks. I am hoping to have a project for her to work on next week. I haven't decided if it will be research related, or helping me sort through my office. Maybe I could have her research & write one of my upcoming blog posts!

FYI: Take Our Daughters to Work Day began in 1993 as a project to increase the self esteem of girls by exposing them to a parent's workplace. The initiative, started my Gloria Steinham & the Ms. Foundation for Women, has grown to include sons. It also encourages people to reach out to relatives such as nieces, nephews, grandchildren, & non-relatives like children in shelters. The next one is April 25, 2013.

I also had a visitor come in tonight. Mr. Ken Perry came in looking for birth records. Ken has been coming to the office  for years, & is currently researching African & Caribbean Americans who lived in Greenwich & Easton. Tonight he was looking for information on the Mayo family; Alec, Estell (nee Miles) & their children. Ken has been looking up census information on Ancestry.com & was wondering if any of the children were born here. Unfortunately, I was only able to find Sheldon Alec Mayo (b. 4 January 1917) in the town of Greenwich.

Afterward Ken & I got chatting about African American migration. Known as the Great Migration, blacks began to leave the South in 1913 after cotton prices fell & the boll weevil decimated crops. The 1915 floods in the Mississippi River Valley just made things worse. Tack on Jim Crow Laws, & black sharecroppers had little choice. They left in vast numbers.

World War I was raging in Europe & President Wilson was trying to keep the US neutral. European immigration was down & the North needed workers. Many southern black farmers wound up in urban centers like New York City, Chicago & Detroit, taking jobs in factories. But some were recruited by northern farms to work the fields. This brought a number of blacks to our rural area. Alec & Estell Mayo left Virginia during this period & came north to work on a farm & raise their children. Another forgotten story that a historian is trying to piece back together. Ken's next stop? The Washington County Archives.

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