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Over Troubled Water

Strengthening the relationships between all African ancestored descendants

Friday, December 21, 2012 1 comments


In last year's post, "The Pain of Not Knowing Who You Are,"  I discussed what it felt like as an African American to have had the memory of the people that we descend from taken from us:

"A feeling that I had subconsciously repressed came rushing forward uncontrollably.  A pain so severe and very deep had me so astonished that I could not articulate it.  I knew that it had been with me for as long as I could remember, but somehow I had not experienced it so."

That pain was eased by the results of the DNA analysis that I had done.  Of course it does not provide the names or faces of the forebears whom I long to become acquainted with, but there is further testing that I can do through African Ancestry where I will learn more.

I am grateful to Stephanie Wilson for the features on her BlogTalkRadio Show earlier this year:

Listen to internet radio with Stephanie Wilson on Blog Talk Radio

Listen to internet radio with Stephanie Wilson on Blog Talk Radio

In the meantime, I have had some great experiences getting to know what my ancestors may have been like through researching their children.  I have been able to discern that in some cases my divine mission in life and philosophies line up and are directly parallel to great aunts and uncles.  I have vowed not to overlook them just because they are collateral lines.

This commitment on my part has forged a bond between me and people a few generations before me whom I never met, but feel guided by.  My great uncle, Rev. Clarence Chick, taught the children in the family three simple things:  "Read your Bible. Study your Negro history.  Save your money."

These are three simple pieces of advice given to babes on their level that I have discovered came from someone who was a college professor of economics and American history. See "Vital speeches of the day."  His speeches have been published in scholarly publications.

When I began this journey, I did not start it simply for my own benefit.  I wanted to learn the principles that helped our ancestors over troubled water so that I could share them with you.  The principles that Uncle Clarence taught were the same for which I have been seeking.  What amazes me so is that he loved Africa as well and often spoke on what we could do to help Africa.

I am today another one of his students even though he has long passed away.  I feel his presence.  He has guided me to his writings.  I want my African brothers and sisters to know that this past year has been tough.  Please forgive my absence.  I have not forsaken you.  I will review my uncle's counsel to Africans of the Diaspora, and I will continue to fulfill my responsibility with the power in me to help in the work of bridge building.

My contributions will be in the form of sharing information here and networking.  I welcome your stories and any history of our homeland that you can share.  We cannot be made whole without you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 1 comments

A fine art mask of the Punu tribe. Gabon. West...Image via Wikipedia
When I was young, the first pieces of art that I held in my hands and admired were African Art. We had a few pieces displayed in our home.  I have yet to ask about the history of those pieces and which of my parents collected them.

Now, I have come to realize thousands of pieces of African Art have been removed from Africa, and the world relishes these pieces, but few recognize that this artwork tells our story and can help us to understand more about our history.

African Art has meaning.  It tells the history and story of people.  We would understand our heritage better if we undertook a study of these neglected evidences of history.

To many, untruths and misrepresentations depict us a savages while ancient works survive to suggest otherwise. 

Join me as I share my perspectives and the resources I have discovered.

What I am Learning From Lost African Heritage 

Tonight at 8PM EST!

Call in number to speak with the host:

(424) 675-8247   (Press 1)

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011 1 comments

Shared by Vince Cushite today: 
“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.” ~Anthony Robbins 

Black Women In Mathematics

Even if we set our standards high, African American children who do not see images of scientists, mathematicians, doctors, or engineers who resemble them will succumb to the belief that those careers are above their reach. If you can show your children images and truths about successful people who looked like them, you will go a long way to inspiring them to be the best they can be. 

They will not be able to overcome the negative pressure they face from peers who poke fun at them for wanting to succeed, and they will not rise above a system which does not challenge them or which accepts mediocrity without a true belief in themselves.  We can help them develop the confidence they need.

We must present our history and our images to our children. We simply cannot wait for someone else to do this or to do it correctly.  If our children could see themselves in other great descendants of the African Diaspora and those Ancients from who we descend, they would be inspired to stand and take their place as well in the annals of history.

Join host, Robin Foster, as we discuss this topic tonight on Over Troubled Water Blog Talk Radio at 8PM EST.  Call in number:  (424) 625-8247 and press on to join the conversation.  Be sure to sign in to join us in the chat room:  How True History Will Inspire Your Child to Learn.

Sunday, August 21, 2011 1 comments

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...Image via WikipediaI received an email last Friday letting me know that my DNA sample had been received.  I felt the anticipation of the results heighten within me. The six to eight week wait will be hard.  While I read over the email, tears started streaming down my face, and they were not tears of joy.

A feeling that I had subconsciously repressed came rushing forward uncontrollably.  A pain so severe and very deep had me so astonished that I could not articulate it.  I knew that it had been with me for as long as I could remember, but somehow I had not experienced it so.

So why was I feeling the full weight of it then?  Where was it coming from?  I wanted it go away.  I wanted to push it back to where it had been lying dormant, but I really think someone wanted me to analyze it so that I could understand there are others who carry it unknowingly.  There are those who carry it and have not been hindered to the degree it has effected me, and there are others whose lives have been destroyed by it unawares.

All I could do was to utter a prayer for guidance. The answer came quickly.  "This is what it feels like to not know where you come from."  In my mind, I answered, "But I know I am a child of God."  Then the reply came that it was not by design that I or anyone should move through this life not knowing who our ancestors are or where they came from.

The Official Medallion of the British Anti-Sla...Image via WikipediaI was told that I had been shielded from the pain, and I was being shown what that pain felt like.  I was told that it was a gift being granted to me to know the places where my ancestors originated.  For me, I could look forward with hope and I would not carry this pain any longer even subconsciously.

However, many have this subconscious pain, and it is destroying their lives.  It was never intended that they should experience  the removal of their heritage, and it was never intended that they should know what it felt like to live in a place where they were not accepted wholeheartedly.

I felt the pain surface of what it feels like to have your heritage, your history, the knowledge of who you are, and the knowledge of where you have come from taken away. I felt the pain of what it feels like to have the blood of ancestors run through me whose descendants would be hesitant to claim me.  I felt the pain of being able to document them so extensively and not the ones for whom my genetic makeup signifies I am.

When my results come in, I am anxious to know from what part of Africa I am from, but I claim the whole continent.  I will be able to study the pre-1800 history and understand the contributions of my forebears and their existence before American chattel slavery.  I may never know their names in this life, but this connection will bring me one step closer to who I am. I will be able to discover living people who carry the same mitochondrial DNA.

As hope restored and the pain subsided, I thought of how my family will be blessed by this gift.  Then I wondered, am I reaching others who carry this pain?  Who is most effected by it?  Perhaps it's our youth who struggle and have lost their way.  I feel a sense of responsibility because I escaped the paths they now trod mostly because of Divine Intervention.  I want to reach those suffering because they do not know who they are.  If you do not fall in that category, then please let us continue to search out and help those who do.
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Thursday, August 18, 2011 3 comments

Purchase here
Often on the brink of tears while I read, “150 Years Later” has left me beyond words. It is a total masterpiece...a miraculous story full of mini miracles! The painstaking efforts of Melvin J. Collier to uncover his ancestry and to identify each member of the family group of Lewis and Fanny and their whereabouts had me cheering for his success the whole way though the book. I was incapable of holding the yearnings for my own Abbeville County ancestors at bay. My heart raced forward in anticipation of each new discovery of fact, locality, and person. 

He left no stone unturned in his search. He relied on the oral history of the oldest living descendants, but he also produced historical documentation in his unrelenting search. Mississippi research can be quite merciless, but following Melvin's trail brought to light some unique methods that I too can employ in the search of my Mississippi ancestors.

A true genealogist, he managed to carve out time to spend researching in archives and interviewing extended family members and planning reunions notwithstanding his busy schedule. He succeeded in giving voice to the gut instincts often employed when tracking ancestors. I enjoyed being reminded of what it was like to research before the advancements in technology and availability of resources that are at our disposal now. I have a renewed appreciation for the resources at our fingertips today. How far we have come in social networking which not too long ago consisted of posting in a forum and waiting for what seemed like an eternity for a response.

“150 Years Later” kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. I appreciate so much how easily it was to follow Melvin's deductions and thought processes as he queried and researched and deduced and concluded and discovered more leads. He was ever true to acknowledge that research success involves being thorough and applying faith. Intertwined within each yearning to know and each of his discoveries were his sense of approval of his ancestors and his desire for completion and healing. 

The many references to “Broken Ties Mended” will be ones that you will have to get the book to decipher completely.  Let me just close by saying that it incorporates ALL the STUFF that every African American family historian dreams about experiencing one day! I do not know how anyone who read this book could not come away feeling a renewed determination to complete his or her own ancestor's story and connect to living family members.  “150 Years Later” for me, stands as the standard to shoot for!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011 1 comments

You will not want to miss tonight's episode of Over Troubled Water Blog Talk Radio.  Author, Don S. McClure will join us to tell us about his book, Broken Wings Fallen Angels, which I feel is one of the best applications of family history, faith, and conversion that I have seen.  I enjoyed it, and I feel this book should be placed in the hands of every young African American male to help him in his quest to find himself notwithstanding all the challenges he faces.

This is a portion of the prologue of Broken Wings Fallen Angels:

     "As you travel through these pages, I will reveal to you my issues of self-determination and how I discovered what it is I wanted out of life. Equally important are the dreams and aspirations that took me there. It is also the story of the examination of the commitment to purpose that drove me to succeed, and the betrayal of good decisions that brought me down to my lowest points. The issues of diversity, cultural bias and the racism I faced in my personal as well as corporate life also play a strong role in this tale. You will become aware of the trials and tribulations that filled many days, months and years on my road to successful realization of the value of my creative talent and the gifts God has given me in order to become triumphant.  From my birth to my adventures you will pass through various doors with many names, dates and places. The results will be amazing at some moments, while in the next there will be sadness and pain. Through it all, I can only hope you find your own self-value. But this much I do know, in the end you can only become what you have inside."
                                                                                                                     Don S. McClure

Don's triumph and book fits in well with tonight's topic, "Teaching Family History Strengthens Youth."  Please join our discussion  at 8PM EST.  Log in to participate with us in the chat room or listen by computer online.  If you want to speak to our guest or ask a question, call (424) 675-8247 and press 1.

Learn more:
The Don S. McClure Show
DSM Publications

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 1 comments

Too much wasted time

Times are tough for our youth today.  So many traps and vices are waiting to snare them.  We cannot just wait for the right time to fortify them.  The village has got to come together on this.  We need a safe haven for the vulnerable.

We need to be teaching about the great people who paved the way before them.  Parents may need help from the grandparents and from the village in teaching our youth about our heritage.

Philadelphia Police Department

See About 50 teens arrested for violating earlier Philly curfew meant to curb violent youth mobs.

They must understand that their time is better spent preparing for their future rather than hanging out on corners late at night. It is a shame law enforcement recently took the place of adult supervision and led to incarceration.   

A sense of duty

They need to feel the weight of the responsibility we all have to be true to the desires and hopes and dreams of our ancestors. How will they do this if we do not work to help them know of those ancestors?  How will they do this if we do not spend the time teaching and sharing the history and the stories?
What will the future be like if our youth grow up no linger feelling accountable to preserve their heritage and live the principles they have been taught?

Do you have children or grandchildren or children in need of positive reinforcement or role models in your neighborhood?  Join host, Robin Foster, and guest,Queen Sheba, as we discuss this topic on our next episode of Over Troubled Water Blog Talk Radio:  Teaching Family History Strengthens Youth on Wednesday at 8PM EST.

At Amazon

Don McClure

We will also be hearing from author of Broken Wings Fallen Angels, Don McClure.  Broken Wings Fallen Angels is a true story about his life and family history. His book is available at Amazon.

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Keep the content flowing!


With the blessings of technology, all African ancestored descendants can develop an online haven where healing can take place. Let's recite and relish in our history. Let's come together to identify the principles that help us to enjoy freedom and happiness. Hopefully, "Over Troubled Water" will be the beginning of that for you. We welcome contributors who will share their history and perspectives that we may all learn and benefit.
Keep the content flowing!

Our Motto:

"I believe that all men, black and brown and white, are brothers, varying in time and opportunity, in form and gift and feature, but differing in no essential particular, and alike in soul and the possibility of infinite development." --W.E.B. Dubois
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Over Troubled Water by Robin R. Foster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at overtroubledwater.blogspot.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://overtroubledwater.blogspot.com/.


The village is coming together! We are from many diverse groups from around the world. We invite you to use Over Trouble Water as an avenue that will spark much needed dialog. This dialog can lead to great enlightenment and healing. Every effort will be made to supplement using historical resources for further study, however, opinions or views expressed in articles reflect the contributor's life experiences and are the responsibility of the respective contributor. Comments should be addressed to the respective contributor.

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