Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Just after 6 pm on April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at age 39, was assassinated while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike. He was preparing to leave the motel to go to dinner when a bullet struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. Dr. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. I was 8 or 9 years old when he was assassinated and saw how his death affected my family and our friends in the community and at church. I could not help thinking about how did his children feel about losing their father in this awful way.

YouVersion’s exclusive conversation with Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King below gives me some insight on what I often wondered — how were the King children coping emotionally and mentally through the years over their father’s death. I suspected there was anger towards white people in general. But despite her anger over what happened, it’s comforting to hear how the power of God’s Word is how she found the ability to forgive. I love her challenge to us to take God at his word when she said, ” . . . we too can tap into that same power today, in order to practice true justice towards others: by walking in mercy and humility. When you start practicing in this vein — doing justice, and loving mercy — it invites God into the equation and gives Him room to operate.”

A Conversation with Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King: His Word Does Not Return Void

Isaish 55:11 – “so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: It shall not return unto Me void . . .”

My 3 Words for 2017

I have chosen 3 words to celebrate my genealogy endeavors for each new year since 2013! I must admit that this activity does work well for me (in lieu of New Year’s Resolutions) because it allows me to organize and plan my genealogy research and training for the year in a more meaningful way.

My 3 Words Over the Years

2013: First. Proof. Publish.
2014: Serendipity. Collaboration. DNA.
2015: Preserve. Stretch. Connection.
2016: Personal. Re-do. Believe.

My 3 Words for 2017

My 3 Words for 2017

Share.

The word share reminds me of the Botswana Proverb that says,

All people share the same ancestry.”

I totally enjoy sharing research facts and information with people whether they’re related to me or not. Sharing with others is the reason why I maintain a public family tree at Ancestry.com filled with informative notes, photos, and primary/secondary documents. It’s my hope this information will help others researching the same ancestors I am — find me! But what made research so cool online for me in 2016 was having a few researchers reach out to me for the first time and send information about my ancestors just because they were checking out the surnames in my family tree. Now that’s the type of sharing I want to experience more of in 2017. So get ready people, I plan to share and talk about genealogy everywhere I go!

Involved.

I’ve been involved with family research since 1989. Attending genealogy conferences and workshops online and offline is something I look forward to and plan for each year. But this year my involvement with genealogy will be more personal than ever before. I’m the newly elected Assistant Secretary for the Willie Lee Gay – H-Town Chapter for the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. I’ve been a member of the H-Town Chapter for two years and have benefitted greatly from this organization. So I felt it was time for me to get involved and give back to a group that has been helpful to me in a major way.

Learner.

As the Swahili Proverb goes —

Where there are experts there will be no lack of learners.

When it comes to genealogy, I am a life-long learner who pursues this field for pleasure and accuracy. Anyone who has spent time shaking down their family tree knows that genealogy involves problem-solving skills that require the use of sources from a variety of fields and disciplines (i.e. business, legal, medicine, religion, governmental, etc.) It is the accuracy that I desire most of all with my research. As a result, I will forever be a learner who will continue to seek out experts for their guidance and help!

Care to join me in this Activity?

Feel inspired to choose *three* words that would help focus your goals and efforts with your family research this year? If yes, what three words would you choose? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section of this post. But more importantly, I wish you Happy Ancestor Hunting throughout this year!

Today is My Blogiversary!

Today not only is the first day of 2017, but it is also the 6th Blogiversay of Claiming Kin! This year I’m celebrating this special milestone with a new and improved look for my favorite space in cyberspace. This new design represents how I plan and want to express myself and share my ancestors and family’s history with you this year and beyond!

Claiming Kin Ancestor Collage

Special thanks go to John S. (@kooldesignmaker), who has done lots of graphic work for me through the years, for transforming my old family photos into the awesome  – Claiming Kin Ancestor Collage – you see when you visit my Facebook profile page. This collage is a visual representation of ancestors and family members I celebrate and honor each day since I started this genealogical journey in 1989.

Sending virtual (((((hugs & best wishes)))) to all my family and genealogy friends who visit this blog and interact with me here regularly. THANK YOU so much! I appreciate your friendship, guidance, patience, and support very much. I wish you and yours a —

Happy New Year 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: My Original Texas Driver Education Certificate

When I was seventeen, it was a very good year; It was a very good year for [big city] girls . . . ” – sung by Frank Sinatra in D minor, 1966

When I found my original Texas Driver Education Certificate (Form DL-41A) last year, I smiled from ear to ear. It was so cool to find this document after all these years. Where was it? Tucked away in a box in my parents garage for many, many years. After looking at this document more closely, I found myself humming and singing the two opening stanzas of Frank Sinatra’s song above with a slight change in the lyrics (of course) to show that I was no small town girl. Still, why that song came to mind, I can’t say. But what I will say is 1977 “was a very good year” because it’s the year I learned to drive a car!

1977 Texas Driver Education Certificate

A closer look at this certificate reveals that 39 years ago yesterday, May 4, 1977, I completed 12 hours of simulator instruction, 3 hours of in-car instruction, and 3 hours of in-car observation at University of Houston. I have no memory of Marvin Reichle, the instructor who signed my certificate above. But, he must have been great because I do remember enjoying the simulator and in-car instruction part of the program very much!

When my classmates learned that I was taking drivers ed at the university twice a week, they all asked why didn’t my parents teach me how to drive themselves. I wondered about that too at first. But I soon realized they wanted me to learn best practices with regards to the laws of the road (i. e. how to deal with different driving conditions, how to react in emergencies, etc.). They also knew if I completed a driver and traffic safety education program approved by the Department of Public Safety, I would receive the SO-30 Driver Training Certificate for insurance purposes too.

This certificate automatically gave me a 10% discount on Bodily Injury, Property Damage, Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection and Collision coverages when my parents added me to their auto insurance. Now that I had a learner’s license guess what make and model car I drove to practice driving? I did all of my practice driving in a 1976 or 1977 Dodge Monaco Brougham, very similar to the one featured below.

Yes, our family car was a BIG one. But despite its size, I LOVED driving that car! It was easy to handle and offered all its passengers a very smooth ride every time.

Do you remember when you learned to drive? What make and model car did you use for practice driving? Let me hear from you; feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section of this post below.

Earth, Wind & Fire and Me

MAURICE WHITE
1941 – 2016
“The light is he, shining on you and me.”

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen I heard the news that Maurice White, the founding member of Earth Wind & Fire, had died peacefully in his sleep on my drive home from work last Thursday (2/4/2016), I was shocked. Like so many EW&F fans, I had no idea that Maurice was ill and suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. I never noticed that he stopped appearing in public despite the band’s sold-out concerts around the world. By the time I made it home, the news of his death had set in, and I felt somber that another musical genius in the music industry was gone!

One of the Most Successful US Bands of All Times

That's The Way of the World by Earth Wind & Fire, 1975

With some 90 million albums sold, I can say with certainty that Earth Wind & Fire is one of the GREATEST American bands of the 20th century! Their musical talents have spanned R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, Latin, and African musical genres. My love affair with them was the results of listening to my brother’s EW&F collection since the 1970’s. On the weekends, you would find me grooving to hits like “Energy by Earth, Wind, & Fire” (1971), “They Don’t See by Earth, Wind & Fire” (1972), “Keep Your Head to the Sky” (1973) and “Devotion by Earth, Wind & Fire” (1974) during my early teens.

The Impact of Earth, Wind & Fire on My Life

The day I became a die-hard EW&F fan was when my brother took me to see them in concert in 1975 when they released their sixth successful studio album – That’s the Way of the World! The dynamic sound of their horn section was so hypnotic that I stood mesmerized by them throughout the concert — LOL! Their energy and elaborate stage show were nothing I had ever experienced before. The interplay between Phillip Bailey’s falsetto and Maurice’s tenor voice had me and everyone there celebrating and singing right along with them. That song and album of the same name put them over the top, and they have never looked back. As a budding pianist, I just had to experience the title song for myself. So a few weeks after the concert, my mom took me to the music store and purchased this hit song for me to play on the piano.

Liv at the keyboard in 1975

In Memory of the Elements — Earth, Wind & Fire

It has been 41 years since my first Earth Wind & Fire Concert and since I sat and played that hit song on the piano. Even though I no longer play or even have a piano in my home (the family piano has been passed down to my grand-daughters), I still have the 1975 sheet music of That’s The Way Of The World that mom bought me in my personal music collection. Maybe one day I will enjoy hearing this timeless song played by one of my grandkids.

(Click below for lyrics & piano accompaniment)

That’s The Way Of The World. Saggiflame Music, 1975.