This post brought to you by MassMutual. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Sinuous Magazine.
This February has been a huge turning-point for my family as we slowly uncover more parts of our history thanks to decades of dedicated genealogy research and new DNA analysis.
My parents and some of their cousins had already laid substantial groundwork for keeping our varied family legacies alive.
Their perseverance allowed me to grow up feeling connected to my fifth great-grandfather African composer Joseph Antonio Emidy, Mohican, Mohegan, and Mohawk peoples in New England through my great grandfather Chief Gray Horse, and freedmen who helped construct cities in Virginia.
Now, we also find amusement in discovering many great grandfathers serving as knights as far back as 11th century England.
Still facing at least 10 “brick walls,” areas of our family tree where we are completely stuck, it is sometimes easier to just give up.
Then I remember the feeling I get each time a hunch was absolutely right or how fun it is to share the new details with my parents, cousins, siblings and their children.
I also recall what I took from last year’s National Congress of Black American Indians event in Washington, D.C.: the work we’re doing presently is for seven generations from now.
And the wisdom I gained that day helped me accept that I’m here because my ancestors wanted me to be here.
What they endured, survived and achieved seven generations ago provided a foundation for grandchildren who have become artists, engineers, bankers, composers, doctors, astronauts, professors, writers, rebels, caretakers, lawyers and so on.
This is why I am particularly moved by MassMutual’s heartfelt #JourneyOfYou campaign celebrating Black History Month.
It is as important for us to know where we have been as it is for families to keep thriving by building a financial legacy.