I grew up the third oldest of nine children on the East side of Detroit, Michigan. My father was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi and my mother was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. I knew quite a bit about my mother’s side of the family, but little to nothing about my father’s side.
My interest in my history, present and future began when I began asking questions about my father’s side of the family and got very few answers. My siblings and I were raised in a sheltered environment away from immediate family, so I had few people to ask questions to. I had some exposure to understanding slavery by watching Roots as a child, hearing my parents talk about the unfairness and mistreatment of Black people, and my father’s animate, passionate view that he is an American of African Ancestry. He told me at one time that he was a freedom rider in the civil rights movement, but other than that, I knew nothing.
My father passed away due to wrongful death by prescription drug induced heart failure in March of 2004 due to a drug called Vioxx prescribed by his doctor. He had quadruple bypass heart surgery in 1999 after a heart attack and was waning in health. According to this article, there was a class action law suit against Merck, the makers of Vioxx, because:
- Merck falsely marketed Vioxx as having benefits greater than “non-selective” Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen, when no such benefits had been established; and
- The marketing of Vioxx was inconsistent with its FDA-approved labels.
The shock of my father’s sudden death and lack of guidance steered my mother away from pursuing action against Merck for wrongful death. My siblings and I were all devastated.
In 2014, I began researching my father’s family tree. I found the name of my three-times great-grandfather’s enslaver, Samuel Hamilton, my three-times great-grandfather Saml Hamilton, and was surprised that my family only went back three generations on my father’s side. One of the tragedies of enslavement. I then decided to take Ancestry.com’s DNA test which gave me a new found interest in research on Africa, enslavement, the current state of my people in America, and our future going forward. I am awaiting the results of my DNA test any day.
4OurSuccess.com is dedicated to the Black American descendants of African ancestry who were brought to America during the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
It is my mission to create a cohesive picture of our history that we can identify with and hold onto, our present that unites our consciousness and desire for culture, and our futures toward prosperity – something that no information has been able to do. We don’t need to unite as a people – occupying the same space isn’t necessary – but as a consciousness, understanding where we came from, who we are, and where we are going is crucial to our ability to know who we are and have a sense of cultural belonging. It is from here that we can begin to piece together our next steps of protecting our generations and building our generations up.
This is where answers to our questions begin.