Back in 1977, a few historians and genealogists, led by James Dent Walker, an archivist, met to discuss concerns and the need for an organization that would focus on the family history and genealogy of minority groups. They felt the research and support for these groups had been overlooked. This group wanted to encourage and support the historical and genealogical studies of families of all ethnic groups, with a special emphasis upon Afro-Americans. (Taken from AAHGS Fifth Anniversary Booklet: 1977 – 1982, compiled by Paul E. Sluby, Sr.)
AAHGS is a non-profit, 501(C)(3) membership organization committed to the preservation of history, genealogy, and the culture of diverse groups of people from local, national, and international communities. The Society stresses the importance of history and genealogy by encouraging active participation in recording research and documenting personal family histories. (Retrieved from http://www.aahgs.org)
As a national organization they produce the annual Journal of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society along with a Bi-Monthly Newsletter. AAHGS is always seeking articles about one’s ancestors’ lives. For more information and to review the submittal guidelines visit http://www.aahgs.org/journal_call_for_articles.htm
Currently there are 19 states that host chapters with over 600 members. To locate a chapter close to you review the information at http://www.aahgs.org/chapters.htm
Recently the 33rd AAHGS Conference was held in Greensboro, North Carolina with the theme of “Our African & Southern Heritage”. The conference held over 30 different workshops that focused on: genealogical resources, research methods, historic events, and the sharing of one’s ancestor’s stories. The sessions attracted the beginner to the experienced historians and professional genealogists. AAHGS has recently shifted to using social media as a means to communication to their members and to the public. The new youtube channel was highlighted at the conference along with AAHGS presenting their facebook (http://www.facebook.com/aahgs?ref=ts&fref=ts) and twitter pages (https://twitter.com/AAHGS).
Each conference has a Sharing Dinner, which this year’s was entitled “Honoring Our Own”. The speaker was Rachel Swarns, a correspondent with The New York Times, and the author of “American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama.” (https://joyat60.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/american-tapestry-by-rachel-l-swarms-the-story-of-michelle-obamas-ancestry/)
Attending the AAHGS annual conferences have several benefits, such as meeting friends and family, authors, options of exchanging information and ideas, and a great networking opportunity with attendees from around the U.S. For membership information visit: http://www.aahgs.org/membership.htm
The 34th annual conference (2013) is scheduled to be held in Nashville, Tennessee. Stay tuned for updates and information.
Enjoy a few of the highlights from the conference: