Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.--Maya Angelou
The Oberlin African-American Genealogy and History Group (OAAGHG) was organized in 2000 from a group of friends who met informally around their interest in genealogy. OAAGHG was incorporated by the State of Ohio in the spring of 2001 and recognized as a federal non-profit 501(c)(3) organization during the summer of 2002. The Oberlin African-American Genealogy and History Group (OAAGHG), is dedicated to encouraging support for African-American Genealogy and Historical Research. The OAAGHG logo is an original design by Margaret Christian featuring two hands holding a baobab tree and symbolizing the continued connection of African-Americans to Africa, the land of our ancestors.
Since its inception OAAGHG has had five presidents:
Over the years, OAAGHG has worked to bring to our members and community, programs to assist those who want to rediscover their family history such as genealogy and local history drop-in hours at the library, beginning genealogy classes, It’s All about Me, a program for youth, using online genealogy databases and how to use new technology to enhance your genealogy research. OAAGHG has an ongoing Local Family History Series, inviting local people to share their own or an interesting family history including, thus far, the Wall, Marshall, Rhodes, Robinson, Thomas, Durham, and Furcron Families. OAAGHG has sponsored talks on Blacks in the military including The 555th Parachute Infantry: the nation's first all Black parachute infantry test platoon, company, and battalion, Blacks in the War of 1812, The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the only battalion of African-American military women sent overseas during World War II and the contributions of Major Margaret Barnes Jones. OAAGHG has also collaborated with Oberlin College Professor Carol Lasser on projects that produced two booklets: Oberlin’s Sacred Heritage: The African-American Tradition and Oberlin’s Black Clubs and Organizations. OAAGHG also sponsors a biennial Mind Feast (full day genealogy/history workshop) and a Lock-In. These are only a few of the many programs and activities of OAAGHG.
OAAGHG has collaborated with many organizations including Ohio Humanities Council, PBS Point of View, Oberlin College, Oberlin Heritage Center, Kendal at Oberlin Genealogy Group, and Friends of the Oberlin Underground Railroad. OAAGHG remains a strong ally with the Cleveland African-American Genealogy Society and the Lorain African-American Genealogy Group. The Oberlin Public Library has always been one of our staunchest supporters, providing space for our meetings and many programs and services, including the late night lock-ins.
OAAGHG is the fiscal and contributing sponsor for Oberlin’s Annual Juneteenth Celebration each year, working closely with the Juneteenth committee members to help showcase portions of Oberlin’s African-American history. OAAGHG also produces the coveted Juneteenth t-shirt each year.
Membership in OAAGHG is open to anyone with an interest in African-American genealogy regardless of race or residency. The number of members annually ranges from between thirty and fifty members. In order to make our programs and activities available to anyone who is interested, all OAAGHG programs are free and open to the public. OAAGHG has been a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies since 2001.