These thoughts are for all you white family historians out there. Particularly the ones who are, like me, struggling to tell the unmentionable, the dishonorable chapters of our ancestors’ lives. The plot lines of which extend into our own days, leaving us uncomfortable with our race. Our whiteness.
I have been silent on this blog space, for what seems like a long time. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because what I have to say is so disconcerting to me. I have hung out with my research for months, letting it rattle my bones. Letting the names and the implications of the unnamed disturb my imagination, and disrupt my nostalgia of my southern past.
And humbled I return to this segregated space to confront the taboo against mixing race and family. The taboo against talking straight up about how I can trace my status, my education, my opportunities right back to those of my Dodson forebears in 1772.
I want to reclaim all the past. I want to braid stories of the Dodsons with the connections of the Crutes and dozens of unnamed African Americans who contributed to the Dodson legacy, yet seldom profited from it.
I hope you will return to learn how my dad’s scribbled note prompted my memory of something Norman said, which together led to the documentation of the Dodson Crute Connection.
Next up: The Dodson Crute Connection
I am going to feel mixed up all week. Monday holidays scramble time frames and Tuesday will be Monday all week long. So I head out into this week, a bit off kilter, but hopeful that the path will lead to people and ideas that nourish hope.
My reading list includes Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II’s The Third Reconstruction. His words “Forward Together, Not One Step Back” are looping like a melody. Andi Cuomo-Lloyd’s Discover Your Writing Self guides my journaling, which slowly and surely is chipping away at my writer’s block.
I have settled into a routine (ish) for writing steadily on “That Damn Dodson Project” and built in time to mindfully watch birds decide spring is arriving six weeks early.
I am grateful for friends, IRL and in FB silos, and for my family, with and without fur.
So, on this Monday-Tuesday I take one step, one breath in, one breath out, and begin.