Slave Descendants Reunite

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

June 10, 2007

Descendants of slaves reunited at James Madison's historic home.. They revisited their roots and discovered new connections to each other.

A goal of the reunion was to stress the importance of tracing genealogy and recording history.

Rebecca Gilmore Coleman's great-grandfather was a slave at Montpelier. She says people often wait until it's too late to share their histories with family.

Linda Brown spent her weekend at Montpelier. She says she has always been interested in the history of her ancestors, and she would love to research it.

Some people found links to ancestors and each other.

Marilyn Johnson Williams says she met a couple people she might be related to. She also took part in the DNA testing Saturday. She hopes that may lead her to more relatives.

The Gilmore family history dates back many years in Montpelier.

Thuriel Gilmore, Rebecca Gilmore Coleman's nephew, says if you don't know where you came from, then you can't know where you're going.

Gilmore Coleman says the slaves have not been recognized for their contributions for a long time. She adds Montpelier is in the process of telling their story of American history.

George Gilmore was a slave at Montpelier around 1810. A cabin he built there has been restored and is now open to the public.


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