My mother died this week. While I set up this blog to put forward educational information on The Great Migration, I feel I would be sorely remiss if I did not pay tribute to my mother. Her overall feeling was that people did not pay enough attention to history and we had to do more to get them to understand it’s value to our lives and its richness. She did this through her genealogical research, and I use historical romance to do mine. She was my sounding board in many ways, and made it a point to interrogate me on my projects, just as I had done the same for her.
She was all on board with The Bledsoe Sisters. But she continued to remind me of how there were so many stories that needed to be told. When I published my first blog post, she was proud of it, but then followed up with an e-mail about many other series and story ideas, enough to keep me busy for decades, and I had to remind her that I had only written one blog post.
You see, she was the one who used her retirement years to trace our family’s history back to that landmark year of 1776. This may mean small potatoes to some, but in African American genealogy it is no small feat to “break the “wall” before 1870, the first census where African Americans are recorded as people. A remarkable accomplishment.
I will miss our many debates about history and historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, discussions about genealogical reality shows, and whether people understood how close we are to the past. She had laughed and found particular resonance in comedian Louis C.K.’s comment about how slavery was “just two 75 year old ladies” away.
Since she was my best friend, I would share with her my frustrations about how the publishing industry does not seem very open to my ideas. So, to me, my mother is going forward stir things up a bit, “nudge” as we say in the writing world, and see what could be holding things up in the delay of spreading this love of history. She is my guardian angel now and her name will always be on any dedication page of anything I ever publish. I start today.
Rest in peace, Lilia C. Huguley, and thank you for the love of history.