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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Stevens Jenkins

Reunions and Celebrations!

Ever since I can remember, we’ve had family reunions in July. I just learned that July is National Family Reunion Month! I didn’t know until I was preparing for a Livestream earlier this month. I know African American family reunions have been around as long as I can remember, but they actually date back to Emancipation. It’s not surprising that once freed, my ancestors would make every effort to reunite with their loved ones and celebrate. I am a descendant of the Stevens and Anderson families, and the Stevens family tries to gather annually, and the Andersons every three years. I look forward to seeing my loved ones and celebrating our bond.

I was with my dad’s side of the family, the Stevens, the first weekend of July, and with my mom’s side, the Andersons, the second weekend of this month. It has been an amazing time with my family.

I planned to do the FB Live in Atlanta with the Anderson Family because our last reunion was in 2019 and we’ve had several losses, including our matriarch, Aunt Lois Anderson (Miami FL). We never know when we will see each other for the last time. During the Friday night activities, I felt inspired to interview the two oldest grandchildren of Papa Charlie and Grandma Bertha. They were Cousins Charley Anderson and Juanita Singleton. On Saturday at the park, I asked for their permission, and we met after a beautiful church service. They shared what they loved most about the family reunion. We had a wonderful time, and it was such a special moment. It was such an honor to speak with them and I’m looking forward to meeting with them again. I wasn’t satisfied with the lighting and the sound, so we will have a do-over Sunday, July 31st, right after the service at New Anderson Grove in Riceboro, my hometown.

I’m so honored. This will not be our only time meeting and recording their thoughts. I think it’s so important for all families to listen to and capture the rich history, while they still remember it. This is only the beginning of something amazing, something that can be treasured and shared with the next generation.

I hope you’re reading this and feel inspired to start recording your own history. It doesn’t matter if your family includes only one other person. That’s ok. You don’t have to wait until you have hundreds of people to account for. Start with the person or people you have and begin right where you are. Those who come along later can build on your foundation. One day someone will want to hear about you and those who come after you.

I’m praying for you. Call, email, or DM me. Let’s communicate. I’m here to encourage, inspire and motivate.

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