January Genealogy Class

       A new year means a new opportunity to finally get started on the family history you’ve been meaning to do. In this class we will go over the basic rules of family history research and briefly discuss various resources you can access and how. Some of these resources are Web-based so basic computer skills are required. We will also practice filling out a Pedigree Chart and Family Group worksheet, the building blocks of family research. Please call (706) 826-1511 for details.

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Cooking up History

Through the holidays (November-December) the Georgia Room will host an exhibit of family and local community cookbooks chosen from our own personal collections. We’ve also included a selection of vintage household kitchen wares and other interesting pieces as they relate to the history of cooking, and domesticity. Please visit the Georgia Room on the third floor of Augusta-Richmond County Public Library at 823 Telfair Street to see our eclectic exhibit.


Tina Monaco                                                                                                      Tina Rae Floyd

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Augusta Chinese-American Oral History Project

October 16, 2018

WRITER: Mandy Mastrovita, mastrovi@uga.edu, 706-583-0209
CONTACT: Sheila McAlister, mcalists@uga.edu, 706-542-5418

ATLANTA, Ga. — Oral histories from Chinese-Americans living in Augusta now available

The Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) is pleased to announce the availability of the Augusta Chinese-American Oral History Project at https://dlg.usg.edu/collection/gaec_caoh. The collection, which belongs to the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System (ARCPLS), contains 26 oral history interviews of of individuals who either immigrated to Augusta, Georgia from China, and/or grew up in Augusta during the early to mid-twentieth century. It is available thanks in part to the DLG’s 2018 Competitive Digitization grant program, a funding opportunity intended to broaden DLG partner participation for statewide historic digitization projects.

The interviews were gathered in 2011 and 2012 by members of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of Augusta (CCBA), with ARCPLS serving as a partner institution. The original intent of the project was to create an archive of stories and personal family histories of a select group of individuals, mostly elders within the Augusta Chinese-American community to preserve for future generations, particularly for the younger members of the community. By making the oral histories easily accessible online, younger generations are more likely to seek out information regarding their heritage.

ARCPLS Genealogy and Local History Librarian Tina Monaco notes: “Because of the variety of topics discussed by those interviewed, the oral histories appeal to a broad number of researchers, social historians, those tracing their family histories, and students. Anyone interested in studying immigration, minority cultures, economic history, race relations, or the establishment of Chinese-American organizations in the South will find the interviews informative.”

Monaco also states: “Several of the interviewees discuss family-owned businesses that opened in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in Augusta during the Jim Crow era. Whites in Augusta refused to provide services to African-Americans, thereby opening a window of opportunity, which Augusta’s Chinese-Americans took advantage of by opening successful groceries, restaurants, and laundry establishments, a few of which were damaged or destroyed during the Augusta Race Riots of 1970. This dynamic would be a rich area of study for both social scientists and historians concerned with the interaction of social and economic factors among minority and discriminated populations in the Jim Crow South. Finally, these stories offer a fresh voice to the complex narrative of southern history, one that speaks to the diversity and multiculturalism of the South.”

Travis Tom, curator of the Augusta Chinese-American Oral History project and board member of the CCBA notes: “We are hoping that the oral histories reach a wider audience–across the nation and perhaps the world–and educates those interested in how Chinese Americans settled in Augusta, Georgia (the Southeast) and started their lives. It is important that we recorded these stories to show how people in our community lived during our time (early 1900s-2011). We encourage other groups to do the same.”

About Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System

The Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System (ARCPLS) is a public library system serving more than 250,000 county residents. As a member of Public Information Network for Electronic Services (PINES), a program of the Georgia Public Library Service covering 53 library systems in 143 Georgia counties, ARCPLS supports any resident in the PINES network and provides access to over 10 million books. ARCPLS has a collection size of over 316,000 with a circulation of more than 478,000 annually. ARCPLS facilitates programs and classes to educate and entertain all ages at no cost. In addition to being a vital meeting place where the community can gather, explore new worlds, and share ideas and values, ARCPLS is a community hub and a critical anchor for our residents and neighbors. With a committed and diverse staff, ARCPLS continues to bring innovative and adaptive information and technology to its patrons. Visit ARCPLS at https://arcpls.org/.

About the Digital Library of Georgia

Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia https://dlg.usg.edu is a GALILEO initiative that collaborates with Georgia’s libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions of education and culture to provide access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture, and life. This primary mission is accomplished through the ongoing development, maintenance, and preservation of digital collections and online digital library resources. DLG also serves as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America and as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, the state’s historic newspaper microfilming project.

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Was Interracial Love Possible in the Days of Slavery? Descendants of One Couple Think So

Back in 2016, the Georgia Heritage Room had the honor of hosting an exhibit titled, LOVE FRAMED IN BLACK & WHITE: A POWERFUL STUDY IN LOVE, RACE, AND COURAGE, which told the story through a collection of pictures and images of an enduring love between a former slave and a white judge from a prominent Edgefield, South Carolina planter family. Paula C. Wright, who created the exhibit, inherited the pictures following her grandmother’s death, and with this box of over 500 pictures and stories told to her as a child, she began to slowly and lovingly piece together her family history and the incredible but courageous marriage of her third great-grandfather Judge William Ramey to former Edgefield slave, Kittie Simpkins. Several of Ms. Wright’s ancestors who followed from this union made Augusta, Georgia their home including Kittie herself who lived in a house on Taylor Street when the atmosphere of hostility and violence which pervaded Edgefield after Reconstruction prompted Judge Ramey to seek out a safe haven for his wife.

Below is a link to an article written by the New York Times documenting this incredible story.


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Songs of the Sixties

SONGS OF THE SIXTIES: You don’t want to miss an unusual and free presentation at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, in the first floor auditorium of the Augusta-Richmond County main library, 823 Telfair St., when longtime weekly music columnist, national book author and magazine writer Don “Ramblin’” Rhodes presents his informative program on 1960s civil rights freedom folk songs including Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind; Peter, Paul & Mary’s If I Had A Hammer, Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come, John Legend’s Woke Up This Morning and others. Videos of some performers will be intertwined with live renditions by Barbara Walker and Darlene Champagne singing and playing their guitars. This has been only presented once before at the Nancy Carson library in North Augusta and drew a large crowd who sang along on the grand finale number. Rhodes has been writing about music for 55 years and has three times won the Greater Augusta Arts Council’s Media Person of the Year Award as well as the Louis C. Harris Media Award from the West Augusta Rotary Club. He also has been a nominee to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in the non performing category. Please call the Georgia Heritage Room for details. 706-826-1511

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DNA Question & Answer with Michele Simmons Lewis, CG

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Hippity Hop on Display through July.

Thank you to local collector Bill Harper for sharing his collection with the Georgia Room.


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DNA: The Newest Game in Town

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Hippity Hop Hops to the Georgia Room

Hippity Hop is hopping to the Georgia Room

Return again to the wonderful world of Happydale where Hippity Hop and his woodland friends had so many fun adventures. Hippity Hop was an extremely popular live puppet television show which ran on WRDW from 1955 until the early 1960s. Various items associated with the show, including the puppet Louisa will be on display through July.

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Determining the truth behind Native American Ancestry

Many people have grown up hearing stories about a great- (or great-great) grandmother who was Native American (typically Cherokee). But as DNA testing gains popularity, people are discovering that may not be the case at all. This article from Slate magazine goes into why the myth persists.


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