This week, a photograph of my Great Grandmother was passed down to me for safekeeping. I was thrilled. Tears rolled down my cheeks. It is a privilege for me to be the responsible holder of this valuable piece. Tucked in an oval shaped wooded frame, I stared at the photograph for a considerable period of time. Having heard courageous stories about Great Granny, I visualized the aura of her personality; her spirit. This photo once hung in my Mother’s living room before it found its home at my Uncle’s residence in Warren, Ohio. It is the oldest photo of a family member to my knowledge. In talking to my Mother, this photo was most likely taken in the late 1800’s. Saddened, my Mother stated that she has no photographs of her Mother. The only photos of my Grandmother were tucked in a family Bible which was later lost. Interestingly, we indiscriminately take photos everyday with our camera phones, but photography was a rare luxury in those times for Black folks. Thus, this particular photo has great ancestral significance. Yes, I am the caretaker of the oldest treasured remnant of our family’s history; the holder and preserver of generational memories which connect my maternal ancestry to its descendants. What a honor!
Photo credit: www.vintageblackfolks.wordpress.com; photographed individuals – unknown.