Searching for My Grandfather and the Tulsa in Me

100 Years Later, I’m Still Sifting Through the Tulsa Race Massacre’s Destruction to Find Our Family’s History

I am my father’s daughter.

I am the first-born daughter, the middle child, who was called Sweet Pea, Mama-Daddy, and Peanie. Naming is very important in the Black community. The act of naming is a great power, reminding each of us how to find one’s voice and how to define, and redefine oneself. Children’s nicknames suggest characteristics that relatives have observed, or into which they believe young people will grow; these can serve as the foundation of your identity.

Sweet Pea is my father’s endearing recognition of the energy and …

How My Great-Grandfather Dealt With a Lout Named Jack London | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How My Great-Grandfather Dealt With a Lout Named Jack London

A Muralist Finds Herself Captivated by the Bay Area Writer, Crusader for Justice, and Drunken Brawler

Growing up in the Bay Area, I heard a lot of family lore about Jack London, and my great-grandfather George Samuels.

Samuels had been a district attorney, a police court judge, …

An L.A. Woman Embraces Her Ancestral New Orleans Home

How Family Reunions Revealed That My Grandparents’ Stories Are My Own

Zigzagging through the crush of rush-hour commuters at L.A.’s Union Station, I’m hoping to make up for lost time. Suddenly, out of the edges of my vision, a man …

Walking Runs in My Blood

How My Family Legacy Inspired Me to Save a Special Trail in Apple Valley

You could say that walking runs in my blood: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t take long walks with my dad, though why was a mystery. Recently, …

Recovering the Stolen Histories of American Slaves

The Tragedy of Treating People as Property Has Left Only Scattered Scraps to Hint at Their Cultures and Communities

For the past eight years I’ve been living with 72 people. These 28 men, 25 women, 12 girls, and seven boys are long dead—they were Africans sold into captivity and …

A Priest. A Nun. And Me.

My Parents’ Relationship Has Always Been a Mystery to Me. It Was Also a Miracle.

Anyone can spend a lifetime trying to understand his parents. But mine might require eternity. My dad was a priest and my mom was a nun. They met, fell in …