MURFREESBORO, TN – March 12, 2019 – The African American Heritage Society of Rutherford County and Oaklands Mansion will co-host local author John F. Baker, Jr. as he discusses his book “The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation” 2 p.m. April 7 in Maney Hall at Oaklands Mansion.
After the presentation, Baker will be available to answer questions and sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase in Oaklands’ gift shop.
Genealogy expert John F. Baker Jr. has lived a few miles from Wessyngton Plantation in a town populated by hundreds of descendants of its slaves. In seventh grade, he discovered the story of his ancestors by accident when he saw a photograph of four former slaves in a social studies textbook. Months later he learned they were his grandmother's paternal grandparents, Emanuel and Henny Washington, who had been enslaved on Wessyngton Plantation. For more than 30 years, he has researched his family history and others. Baker has written the most accessible and work since Alex Haley’s “Roots.”
Baker has spoken around the country and has helped numerous individuals discover their lineage. He has conducted seminars on tracing American and African American genealogy at universities and institutions. Through extensive historical research, John Baker has managed to create groundbreaking research in African American history. He uses historical records to trace ancestry such as slave bills of sale, Freedmen's Bureau records, church records, death records, birth records, U. S. Census records, military records, pension records, Civil War records, wills, deeds, estate records and plantation records.
In his book, Baker interviewed dozens of individuals ranging in age from 80-107 years old to collect their oral histories. He researched more than 11,000 documents to trace the ancestry of more than 300 African Americans enslaved on Wessyngton and the plantation owners.
Today, he offers consultations to teach others how to organize their research and trace their family histories. He provides consulting services that are designed to help guide guests through the process of finding their ancestry.
Proceeds from the event will support the interpretation of the African-American experience in Rutherford County. Tickets, which include light refreshments and a self-guided tour of Oaklands Mansion, are $15 per person and can be purchased in the museum gift shop during regular business hours or by calling the museum to at 615-893-0022 or email email@example.com.
# # #