Wednesday, February 11, 2015

On the Eve of Roots Tech

Well it is amazing how a day can be truly full even before the conference begins. I arrived in Salt Lake City yesterday afternoon, and was settled in at the Radisson hotel with two genea-buddies, Shelley Murphy, and Bernice Bennett. And after a good night's rest we arose to the various tasks that awaited us.

After a wonderful breakfast at the Radisson, I then needed to officially register, to obtain my conference badge and plan the day. The conference guide is an attractive, and streamlined journal that meticulously outlined the workshops in both conferences, and included biographies and so much more. (For those that don't know, Roots Tech and FGS are taking place at the same time, in the same facility--the Salt Palace Convention Center.)

Front page of Conference Guide Book

There are over 130 pages in the book that has a slim and sleek appearance. The conference guide has a sleep and professional look to it, with a full description of events to unfold in the next three days. The size is perfect as it easily slips into a purse or folio.

The thin size still consisted of 130 pages of RootsTech/FGS events

I spent some time in the business center of the Radisson hotel, polishing my presentation for later in the week. With some free time on my hands, I was able to engage in my favorite exercise--research.
So, I went down to the Family History Center. While there, I was able to copy more than 70 documents and put them on my flash drive.

Family History Library, Salt Lake City

One thing about attending an event this large is that one must truly be prepared to walk, alot. The Salt Palace Convention Center is huge, and though the hotel is next to the facility, that does not reduce the walking. While going through two huge exhibit halls that were being set up for the next several days, then going down the long never-ending halls, does make one appreciate health. Add to that fact that the city is in the mountains, so that means slower walking for those not accustomed to thinner air. Thankfully the weather was beautiful walking outside was not too hard.

I took a break to have something for dinner, after which, I returned to the Family History center to continue my research. After another two hours went by quickly fatigue set in and I knew I need to come back to the hotel for rest. The opening session is tomorrow, and the day will unwind with lots of things to do, thousands of people to see and two entire exhibit halls to roam tomorrow.

And so it goes, on this eve of  Roots Tech, and all I can say is "bring it on"! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Source: Harper's Weekly, 1867
The image from Harper's Weekly always warms my heart. In the image one sees men of color participating in the affairs of government, by voting. That simple act of casting a vote is so well reflected in the image. One sees a man dressed as he may have been a farmer. A suited man stands behind him, and then there is the soldier. All are standing proud as men ready to participate in the voting process for the first time, in country of their birth. This was a privilege that until February 3, 1870, that they had not had. But finally when given the opportunity, they did cast their votes so proudly.

On this day in 1870, the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. This amendment state that  "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

Of course the next century would see continuous efforts to prevent the vote from being extended equally to all. And many states would rescind claiming states rights to prevent people of color from exercising this right. Until 1964 and the Voting Rights Act, efforts to prevent the descendants of former slaves from having equal rights. The struggle was a long and painful one. I recall as a young girl listening to a courageous Fannie Lou Hamer  speak of how she was so brutally beaten for fighting for that simple right to cast a ballot. It was hard to understand how after almost a full century after ratification, the battle for the right to vote was still being fought in this land.

Although this is not a widely known data in American history, it should be, especially in this season of Freedom. So we must pause and understand the importance of February 3 and not forget its significance.

The right to cast a vote was ratified, and to all who fought to keep that right and to defeat illegal laws that were put in place to supress that right, this day should be commemorated.

It is our history. It is American history.