Saturday, October 1, 2011

Reflections on the 2011 AAHGS Conference, Little Rock Arkansas

Last week the 32nd Annual Conference of the African American Historical Genealogical Society took place in Little Rock Arkansas. The theme of the conference was "The Ties That Bind. Honoring Our Ancestors".

On Thursday evening, Mr. Charles Howard, national president opened the conference with the State of the Society Address.  He spoke to the current issues facing the organization and also announced that next year the conference will be taken to Greensboro, North Carolina. This is the first time the annual conference will convene in that state.

Charles Howard addresses AAHGS members at Annual Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Attendees, listening to State of Society Address

On Friday morning sessions got underway. There were also a number of exhibits and vendors on hand as well.

Among the Exhibitors were the Black History Commission of Arkansas

The Arkansas History Commission Display

Preservation of African American Cemeteries had an impressive Display

AfriGeneas Items on Display

I was excited to see a workshop that addressed the history of the US Colored Troops. Bob O'Connor author of the book, "The US Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison" gave an interesting presentation on the fate of the little known black soldiers imprisoned at the notorious civil war prison.

Bob O'Connor Spoke about Andersonville Prison and US Colored Troops

I was excited to attend a session on African American Memorabilia, presented by Archie Moore. This session interested me particularly because the items shared were from Arkansas.

Archive Moore Collection

Mr. Moore who also sits on the Arknasas Civil War Commission, is well known in Arkansas as a collector of African American historical artifacts.
Archie Moore introduced his Arkansas collection

His collection included Civil War documents, rare books and pamphlets and items used by well known Arkansas residents. He even shared with the group booklets describing persons no longer known in the area, but who had published books and were once well known in the community.

Of course, no conference is complete without the wonderful opportunities to meet old friends and make new friends.  Arkansas residents were on hand as were persons from California, Utah, Flordia, Minnesota, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, and many more places.

Angela Walton-Raji (Maryland)  Dr. Patricia "M'Pata"McGraw (Arkansas), Callie Riser (Minnesota)

The author's luncheon's allowed participants to mingle as well as hear presentation by a number of selected authors.

Author's Luncheon

The closing banquet was enjoyed as a new AAHGS Chapter from Topeka Kansas received their charter, and awards were given to specific honorees.

The Topeka Kansas Chapter received its official charter at the closing banquet 

Charter for the  new Topeka Kansas Chapter

Alice Harris, President of the Central MD Chapter Received
the special President's Award

Special Thanks was given to Tamela Tenpenny-Lewis 
who was a key person in bringing the conference to Arkansas for a second time.

The conference ended smoothly, with new friendships formed, old friendships renewed and dozens left with new ideas and inspiration to get back to research projects with new vigor.  

Next year---all eyes will be on Greensboro, North Carolina.


Sharon said...

Very nice!! I really enjoyed reading and learning a bit more. The pictures are very nice. Looks like a lot of fun.

Mavis said...

Sounds like it was a great event. Hope to see you next year when it comes to North Carolina. I'm going to try to be there when it comes to my home state.

Alice Keesey Mecoy said...

Great coverage of this important event. Looks like everyone had a great time and learned much.

Nicka said...

Thanks for capturing this event so nicely! We have yet another connection. Ms. Callie and I met during our recent trip to Cameroon. Additionally, she is the mother of a close friend of my cousin. How random is that, considering that the three of us live in three different states :)