sankofa: follow the paper trail
Sankofa is an Akan (Ghana) phrase that literally translates to "go back and fetch it." The Akan people say it means that we must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today. In other words, we only understand the people we are by understanding our ancestors.
We put Sankofa into practice by doing genealogy, or the study of family origins. In African tradition, griots, or storytellers, passed history down in an oral tradition that continues to this day. Yet, as our elders pass, many of the stories are lost. In the Reddick-Benbow-Means family, a few of us have attempted to find the evidence that verifies and documents all that we've heard. In order to keep our family history alive to share with future generations, we are putting together all of the research that has been done. We'll use this web page to keep an electronic repository of documents, pictures, and sources. That way, when the youngest among us seek to understand what our forefathers did to pave the way for us to be here, they won't have to look very far. Here, you'll find not only the names of our ancestors, but the stories and memories that bring the past alive.
Our family's current research has two goals in mind:
1. Find documents, such as birth records, death certificates, marriage records, land deeds, etc. that verify and document the stories we know.
2. To seek the unknown and go into our past beyond Major Reddick. We are working diligently to discover who Major's owners were before he was freed and we will keep you posted!
Follow the paper trail through our family's story by clicking "Next.". You'll see that there are many unknown dates and events. If you have any knowledge that can fill in the blanks (with or without documentation), we welcome your input. We will scan and post obituaries and photographs of our ancestors to share with everyone.