Years ago… When I came across this picture of my Ancestors – my 3rd Great Grandparents, to be exact. I was awestruck as the gravity of this regal couple staring back with unmitigated purpose – it was a feeling that spoke volumes despite their voices being stilled long ago – or so I thought.
When I circled back with my primary sources for family history at the time – my Elders in the form of my Great Uncle Calvin and my Bigmama (Grandmother) – they both confirmed (again) that their Father (my Great Grandfather) was named Church. Based on the census information and the oral histories I had assembled over the years, I was able to ascertain that my Great Grandfather was named after his maternal Grandfather, Church Tipton.
Shortly thereafter I came across this newspaper clipping from 1884 concerning my Grandpa Tipton – the Civil War Veteran, inventor, businessman, Father, Husband.
For some reason they saw fit to herald my Grandpa Tipton coming into town and interestingly enough, there was no mention that he was held in bondage in the past – it was simply stated that he was one of the “solid citizens” of Fackler.
He was a man…
A Black man.
A cruel contradiction.
One who took up arms on the side of the Union against the supposition that his humanity was a fictional concept – the foundation of which expanded was on by Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the ill-fated Confederate States of America in the infamous Cornerstone Speech.
No, I never met him, but my spirit has informed me that he wielded a presence demanded that all that he was – had to be recognized – in short he wasn’t begging for shit!
I came to discover that it was through the Tipton’s – where much of the fortitude and steely determination exhibited by countless people from my Family collective flowed from.
These two souls were one of the origin points of why the knees of my people would refuse to bend and…
Why the Elders always told me that our folks.
“Ain’t never hung their heads to no man!”
But discovering that there were others…
To be continued in Part II
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