My name is Shannise Jackson and I have been an educator, journalist, registar, researcher, artist, and author. All these experiences have helped to hone my skills as a geneaologist. I am currently working on a series of creative endeavors that tell the story of my family’s history. So far my research has led me back five generations to my great grandfather, Jim Boylan who was born a slave in 1860 and his mother, July Boylan born in 1790.
I have traced my family line to a plantation in Wake County, North Carolina, through the Civil War, across the Blue Ridge Mountains, through Reconstruction, into Tennessee, World War I, Jim Crow, the Great Depression, traveling north in the Great Migration, working in factories during the Industrial Revolution, from Chicago to Cleveland, to the Hough Riots and I still have so much more to discover.
I believe this work is important because it canonizes the stories of our ancestors, documents their existence and the contributions they made. It is especially relevant now as we fight to have the stories of our enslaved ancestors recognized in the history of our nation and included in the curriculum of our public schools.
We must participate in writing our own narratives and critically analyzing the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we tell the next generation and generations to come. Our evolution and progress is contingent upon authoring our own stories and honoring the stories of our ancestors.
I will blog about my research, discoveries and learning more about my family’s history. I look forward to sharing this experience with you and hearing from you.