How a local Black family’s Bible got to the Smithsonian
, 2022-06-17 02:00:00,
Tracing your family roots can be frustrating. But for many Black families in America, the genealogy search can be even harder for a lot of reasons. Handwritten notes and an heirloom Bible became the centerpiece in one Southern California family’s search for their personal history. The Diggs family shared their story with “LA Times Today.”
Richard Diggs explained how he found an old family Bible and other documents that recorded their family’s history from 1844 to 1892.
“My wife and I were at my parents’ home and my mother … mentioned that she had all these books filed and that she was going to donate them,” Richard Diggs said. “And my wife suggested to her ‘Mom, before you do that, let me go and look through them,’ because she loves old books. … We were standing around and she opened the book up to the family section in the center portion of the Bible. And here was all this writing, starting with my mother’s grandfather, Richard George Collins. We realized immediately that it was his Bible. He had chronicled the family’s history in the pages of this Bible.”
Richard’s sister Denise Diggs realized that their great-grandfather would have been enslaved, based on the timeline of the Bible. But Collins was clearly educated.
“We found out over the course of time that they were free people of color living in Georgia before they were in Alabama,” Richard Diggs explained. “And the free people of color in Georgia dominantly came from…
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