History, Tradition, and Culture

Holiday Traditions | Mariah’s Christmas Gifts

Image of Mariah Pierson Nelson
Mariah Pierson Nelson

As with most young children, Christmas was the most wonderful and magical time of the year for me and my siblings. Whether the Christmas tree was the silver metallic one with the rotating color wheel , real, or artificial, we were mostly fixated on what would be under it come Christmas morning.  Of course “Santa” was generous if we were “good”  and I do not remember ever being disappointed.  Christmas decorations and wonder aside, the best part of Christmas was the tradition of food , it’s preparation, and time spent with my family! Although I had started helping with meal preparation around the 3rd or 4th grade, It wasn’t until I was in the 5th grade did I really start to turn my attention away from toys to   Christmas “traditions “.  Actually, I think I morphed into a Keebler Elf.  Perhaps it was the move from Texas to a house …

Records, Resources, and Repositories

Those “Squeaky Wheel” Ancestors | The Freedmen’s Bureau

Image of Freedman in line at Field Office

“There’s no sense in complaining!”, “Your complaining to the wrong people”, or “Your complaints will fall on deaf ears!”. These are phrases I have sometimes  thought, heard,  or uttered throughout my life. Well at least a few of my ancestors felt that even in the deep south, during reconstruction, that justice would prevail and they sought justice would by lodging their complaints with the “system”.  In my ancestor’s case, the “system” was the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.  Popularly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, the agency was established in 1865 by Congress to help former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War (1861-65). Some 4 million slaves gained their freedom as a result of the Union victory in the war, which left many communities in ruins and destroyed the South’s plantation-based economy. The Freedmen’s Bureau provided food, housing and…