All Articles Tagged "Texas"

Texas Police Officers Channel Aggravation Regarding Current Events With “His Life Matters”

August 16th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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Back in May, Chief Steven Jones (right) and Officer Donald Givens (left) of the Trinity Police Department in Texas took a photo to channel their aggravation with the currents events regarding both police and race relations. It garnered a bit of attention with 400 favorites and retweets. Today, the photo has officially gone viral with 115,000 shares and 25,000 likes thanks to the American Conservatives of Color Facebook group.

A response to the #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter movements, the two police wanted to peacefully share their own point of view and “His Life Matters” was birthed. Givens told CBS that he didn’t “expect the photo to go viral or start a movement, but he’s glad it did.” The now viral photo shows the two men posed together with one hand up with the motto written in black ink on their palms. Recently, Jones and Givens told Fox and Friends that the photo was a joint idea. Chief Jones explained why they took the photo:

“I don’t want to put down law enforcement all together, but there’s so many things that are happening these days that sometimes we can’t stand behind officers that do bad things,” he said. “However, the community and the nation can’t condemn every single officer based on the actions of a few.”

Watch Chief Jones and Officer Givens discuss their “aggravation” with current events regarding the police force.  

In Which Majority-Minority State Are Blacks Doing The Best? California, New Mexico, Texas or Hawaii?

June 22nd, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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By 2044, experts say the United States will become a “majority-minority” nation — the share of Whites will dip down to 49.7 percent. Currently, four states model this theory: California, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Texas. And it’s Hawaii, according to Forbes, where Black Americans are doing the best financially.

According to the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rate, which analyzed American wellness from 2011 to 2013, the national poverty rate sits at 15.9 percent: Whites have an average SPM rate of 10.7 percent while Blacks have an average SPM rate of 24.7 percent.

Focusing on the majority-minority states, the SPM rate for California, Hawaii, and New Mexico is above the national average at 23.4 percent, 18.4 percent, and 16 percent, respectively.

The steep costs of housing, especially in Hawaii and California, drove the poverty rate right up, Forbes said.

Texas is the only one that pulled a 15.9 percent poverty rating, right at the national average:

“Texas is the only majority-minority state where America’s four largest racial or ethnic groups all enjoy a Supplemental Poverty rate that’s below the national average [of their own racial cohort],” Forbes said.

As aforementioned, the national poverty rate for Blacks hovers at around a quarter of the population. In Texas, that number dips down to 19.9 percent. The Latino national SPM is 26 percent, but slumps to 22.7 percent in Texas. For Asians, their national SPM is 16.4 percent, but falls to 14.1 percent in the Lone Star state.

Still, zooming in on Blacks, Texas isn’t the best state for African-Americans financially, according to Forbes. It’s Hawaii.

The Aloha state has the lowest SPM rate for Blacks, out of the four majority-minority states, at 17.9 percent. This is 6.8 percentage points lower than the Black national average.

Forbes said that it is important to examine the poverty rate of the four majority-minority states because, with the U.S. on track for Whites to lose its majority status by 2044, it’s useful to analyze California, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Texas for “applicable lessons in governance.”

“The Texas model of governance—low taxes, less regulation, and lawsuit reform—results in more prosperity and less poverty for all,”Forbes concludes.

Why The McKinney, Texas Incident Is About More Than Police Brutality

June 9th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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I don’t know if irony is a strong enough word to describe how a district, which in the last presidential election voted overwhelmingly Republican, can suddenly say, “Forget the debt crisis, let’s use big government’s tax-paying dollars to intervene in our lives and save us from being ‘invaded’ by a bunch of pool-partying Black kids.”

And I’m talking about McKinney, Texas, an area that is around 70 percent white and 10 percent Black. A place where a fight at a pool party and subsequent police assault took place. And all this happened after a grown woman who is supposed to know better curses at children, telling them that they don’t belong in her neighborhood and need to go back to their Section 8 homes. McKinney is a place where just last year, more than a 100 residents attended a city council meeting to speak out against a 167-unit affordable housing and Section 8 apartment complex slated to be constructed in their backyards. According to the McKinney Courier-Gazette, “Many expressed concerned [sic] with the Section 8 vouchers being permissible for each of the developments, saying they would bring down property values, increase crime in the area and negatively affect nearby schools.”

And I’m willing to bet that those developments would also increase the presence of Black and brown kids at their community pools…

What is at issue here is more than the misconduct of a single overzealous cop who did a tuck-and-roll before attacking children and slamming one girl to the ground. Believe it or not, he and the other officers who were summoned to the scene were just responding to orders. The orders of a paranoid community of people who use the police to maintain their borders and basically keep us out.

Long gone are the days of sundown towns that used to post signs at city limits warning Blacks, Jews, and other undesirables that they were not welcome in their town, particularly after the sun had set. That sort of outward hostile discrimination was made illegal by the Civil Rights Act of 1968. And by today’s standard, being blatantly racist is simply not polite form. Instead, more contemporary, and yet subtle versions of these sundown towns have surfaced. They manifest themselves in public bus routes, which limit travel to and from mostly White suburban enclaves (with the exception of suburban shopping centers, because somebody has to flip the burgers at the neighborhood Outback Steakhouse). Or this discrimination rears its ugly head in the always popular white middle-class concern about maintaining high property values. Complaining about this ensures that those low-wage workers who ride those limited bus routes never own property in the communities in which they work. This discrimination is also hidden behind gated communities and homeowner associations who rule by an alleged democratic process to determine through a system of coded rules, regulations and language, who is and who is not suitable for their neighborhood. And when all of that fails to keep us out, that’s when they use the police to do the enforcing for them.

As some members of law enforcement recently pointed out in a Reddit ProtectAndServe forum, some police officers are tired of white people, in particular, wasting government resources by calling 911 to report every allegedly suspicious Black person in their neighborhood. As one officer, in particular, noted:

“So I’m working last week and get dispatched to a call of ‘Suspicious Activity.’ Ya’ll wanna know what the suspicious activity was? Someone walking around in the dark with a flashlight and crow bar? Nope. Someone walking into a bank with a full face mask on? Nope. ‘It was two black males who were jump starting a car at 930 in the morning. That was it. Nothing else. Someone called it in. People. People. People. If you’re going to be a racist, stereotypical jerk… keep it to yourself.”

It was a call to the police about a suspicious black person who did not belong in the Walmart with a gun in an open carry state, which resulted in John Crawford II being gunned down. It was a call to police about a suspicious Black kid playing with a gun – made suspicious because obviously he did not belong – that led to Tamir Rice being shot down only seconds after police arrived on the scene. In the weeks before fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman made 46 calls to the Sanford Police Department, mostly about suspicious Black people who did not belong. And it was several calls by so-called concerned neighbors about the suspicious Black pool partygoers who did not belong in their community, which is most at fault for the incident in McKinney, Texas.

What we are seeing in Texas, and around America for that matter, is more than an issue of a few bad apples on the police force. What we are seeing are communities of predominantly white people using whatever resource is available to them to ensure that they stay predominantly white. What we saw in Texas was about more than Officer Eric Casebolt slamming a child into the ground and putting his knees in her back. It’s about the adults who made the decision that certain people were not welcome in their community and then stood around and watched – and in some cases aided – the police as they enforced their preferences. When we make this an issue just about what the police did in this particular incident, we fail to get at the heart of what is really going on here.

A similar incident happened in 2009 in my home state of Pennsylvania. Right outside of Philadelphia, a bunch of Black kids from Northeast Philly were denied access to a predominantly white private swimming club because they felt that the presence of these teens might change the complexion of the pool. In response, hundreds of families from diverse backgrounds throughout Philly drove out to that swimming club and protested every single day until they got the message that such exclusionary treatment had no place in modern society. Similar measures need to be taken for this Texas town to understand the same.

Update: Texas Governor Signs Bill Deregulating Hair-Braiding Laws

June 8th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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 Hair-Braiding Laws


Update #2- 6/8/2015: 

Today, Texas Governor Abbott will sign the HB 2717 bill that deregulates natural hair braiders from having to complete an arduous process in order to obtain and keep their hair braiding licenses. Attorney Arif Panju who works with the Institute for Justice’s Texas office said of the victory:

“This marks a final victory for natural hair braiders across Texas. It also serves as recognition that occupational licensing has gone too far when 1 in 3 Texans are forced to obtain a government license to simply go to work each morning.”

The HB 2717 bill was authored by Texas Representative Craig Goldman and sponsored by Senator Royce West in the Texas Senate.

Update #1- 4/24/2015: Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass the HB 2717 bill that will deregulate the legislation imposed on the natural hair braiding business.

Previously, hair braiding trainers and beauticians had to complete barber, cosmetology and a 35-hour government-approved hair braiding course in order to teach or practice hair braiding  in salons. Hair braiding stylists also had to earn a state license. If they failed to do so, their salon or hair braiding teaching session would be raided by law enforcement, resulting in arrest. The effort to deregulate natural hair braiding has been a decade-long fight.

Isis Brantley who has been arrested several times for braiding hair without the Texas state government license says of the new bill:

“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living. This vote by the Texas House means aspiring hair braiders from across the state are one step closer to being able to practice an ancestral art that dates back centuries, and do so without a government permission slip.”


Original Report-1/11/2015:

A federal judge in Texas ruled the laws on how hair-braiding stylists teach students how to braid were unconstitutional. The ruling was set in motion by salon owner Isis Brantley who filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Texas with the help of Institute For Justice in 2013. In the suit, The Associated Press reports, Brantley argued she was forced to take classes and exams that were unnecessary in order to receive a state-mandated license to teach hair-braiding.

Not only was the curriculum Brantley needed to study geared towards barbers when she wasn’t seeking certification for that profession, Texas also required her to convert her small hair-braiding business into a barber college and have 10 student workstations that recline, plus install a sink behind every two workstations. This meant Brantley would have to install plumbing in her salon although clientele is expected to have their hair pre-washed before braiding. The Root also notes Brantley had to spend “2,250 hours in barber school, pass four exams, and spend thousands of dollars on tuition.”

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks from Austin ruled the state regulations the excluded Brantley from receiving a certification in hair-braiding were unconstitutional and “absent ‘a rational connection with fitness or capacity to engage in’ hair braiding instruction.”

In a statement, Brantley said:

“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living. This decision means that I will now be able to teach the next generation of African hair braiders at my own school.”

A spokeswoman from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation said she respects the judge’s decision.

Cook-Out Approved: Texas – Barbecue Baked Beans!

July 4th, 2014 - By Kay Hudson
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The fourth of July is (mostly) dedicated to American cuisines, entrees, and meals. Today we are taking you to Texas to make sure you make the best baked beans possible. This time around no one will pass on the beans, Texas! Salute: Texas Barbecue Baked Beans, courtesy of Texas Cooking!


2 cups dried Navy or pinto beans
8 slices bacon — diced
1/2 cup onion — chopped
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 small hot red chile pepper
3/4 cup tomato catsup
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 generous dash hot pepper sauce

Soak beans overnight in cold water to cover. Fry bacon until crisp. Drain drippings from bacon into baking dish or small bean pot. Add all remaining ingredients to fat and blend. Drain beans and add to mixture. Blend. Crumble the crisp bacon over top. Add water just to cover beans. Cover dish or bean pot and bake at 325 degrees F. for 2 hours. Add more hot water if needed. Uncover beans during last 20 to 30 minutes. Serve from baking dish.

A slice of smoky bacon rind used instead of the sliced bacon will give a more decidedly country flavor. Brown sugar to taste may replace the corn syrup. And canned tomatoes may take the place of the catsup — but if so, correct the seasoning as necessary with a little sugar, salt, cayenne and a pinch of ground allspice.

Source: Texas Cooking

Oops! Texas Board Mistakenly Passes Resolution On Reparations

June 19th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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No doubt this is one for the history books… and just in time for Juneteenth! Without realizing it, politicians in a North Texas county approved a resolution this week in support of reparations to African-Americans for slavery.

A Juneteenth resolution was passed unanimously by Dallas County commissioners on Tuesday but they thought it was a routine proclamation commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The commissioners didn’t read close enough. The resolution also included a list of injustices suffered by black Americans, and also stated in the last paragraph that blacks’ suffering should be “satisfied with monetary and substantial reparations.”

Commissioners later confessed they hadn’t read the resolution before voting, according to The Dallas Morning News. “About an hour after their vote, commissioners complained they hadn’t received copies of the resolution beforehand,” says The Huffington Post.

But they should have heard what the resolution said as it was read aloud by John Wiley Price, who introduced the measure and is the commission’s only black member.  Price noted that American Indians and Japanese-Americans are among those who have received compensation for past mistreatment.

“We are the only people who haven’t been compensated,” Price said.

While this may seem like a real move toward reparations,  the vote is non-binding, so there will be no reparations made. Still some of the leaders have noted the significance of the move.

“I am leaving my vote the way it is,” County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “This is the body’s expression of support for unity towards people, a recognition of Juneteenth.”

He later added, “I want to encourage staff to make sure that all of the commissioners have the opportunity to actually read what they are voting on before that vote in the future.”

Separately but related, if you haven’t read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ massive article in The Atlantic called “The Case for Reparations,” get on that.

Hoodwinked: 31-Year-Old High School Sophomore Arrested For False Identity

May 15th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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31-Year-Old High School Sophomore



On Mother’s Day, a Texas high school sophomore was arrested for not disclosing her real age and name. You might be thinking that doesn’t sound like much of an offense, until you realize that the sophomore, Charity Anne Johnson, is actually a 31 years old woman. Apparently, Johnson enrolled in New Life Christain School in Longview, Texas last year. To register for the school, she used the name “Charite Stevens” and, according to KLTV, entered the 30-student  school as a formerly home-schooled student who did not have transcripts. New Life Christian School stated Johnson had been enrolled since October 2013.

When she registered, Johnson gave school administrators a birth date that indicated her alleged age. Her current guardian, Tamica Lincoln,30, said Johnson sought her out in March, claiming she was 15 and needed a home because her parents died.  Lincoln told the local news:

“I sympathized with her, and invited her into my home. I took her in as a child, did her hair, got her clothes and shoes…”

Although it is unclear how Lincoln knew Johnson was using a fake identity, she along with Johnson’s mentor Paul Ward called the police and notified the school. Tuesday, May 13, it was revealed to teachers that Johnson’s identity was fake and New Life Christian School will soon send home a letter explaining the incident to parents. After her false foster situation was revealed, Lincoln reached out to various people on Facebook using Charity’s picture and found others who were  conned into being her guardian as well. The various women were located in Texas, Florida and Minnesota and stated they don’t want to be involved in Johnson’s life after the pain she’s caused. Johnson is currently in Gregg County Jail on a $500 bond., Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Judge Gives Rapist Light Sentence Because 14-Year-Old Girl “Wasn’t The Victim She Claimed To Be”

May 5th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Judge Gives Rapist Light Sentence

Dallas News

Last week an alleged rapist in Dallas, Texas, was given the lightest sentence we have ever heard of. Texas’ State District Judge Jeanine Howard sentenced 20-year-old Sir Young to five years of  deferred probation after he spends just 45 days in jail and completes 250 hours of community service. Why? Because, according to Dallas News:

The judge who issued the light sentence said Thursday that she did so in part because the girl wasn’t a virgin and “wasn’t the victim she claimed to be.”

Judge Howard initially sentenced  Sir Young to complete his community service at Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, reports The Huffington Post, but since then, the executive director of the rape crisis center, Bobbie Villareal, said she would not allow the young man to serve there based on his criminal history. The kicker, though, according to Clutch Magazine, is if Young completes his probation, he will be able to erase the rape conviction from his record, meaning he will not be listed as a sex offender, required to refrain from pornography, or have to attend sex offender treatment, nor stay away from children. The prosecutor of the case, District Attorney Craig Watkins was, understandably, alarmed at Judge Howard’s sentencing, telling Dallas News:

“This young lady was 14 at the time she was sexually assaulted at school, and we cannot send the wrong message to rape victims who have the courage to seek justice. I am disappointed the judge would choose to give the defendant probation after he admitted guilt, but even more alarmed the judge failed to impose standard sex offender conditions of probation designed to protect society.”

Judge Howard made her decision based on the following facts reported by the Dallas News: the victim texted Sir Young, asking him to spend time with her. She agreed to have sex with him but did not consent to having intercourse on their school grounds. The court also investigated the victim’s medical documents, which indicated she had three sexual partners. It also exposed information on a pregnancy and specified she gave birth to a baby.

The rape took place in October 2011; Sir Young was 17 years of age at the time and his victim, 14. The victim’s mother told press her daughter was never pregnant. Both the victim and Young testified last week, with the teen girl telling the court she repeatedly said “no” and “stop” before and during the attack at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Young pleaded guilty to the charges. Judge Howard asked the victim if she cried during the attack and the victim told her she cried afterwards.

WFAA reports that after Young serves his 45-day jail sentence, he will have also have to serve two days in jail on the anniversary of the rape during his probation period. After the trial, Young apologized to his victim and publicized his engagement as well as the fact that his fiancee is expecting a child this year.

After hearing the verdict, the victim said she wishes she never went to the authorities, remarking “ everything I went through was for nothing. It would have been better for me not to say anything.”

For information on this case, watch the news video below.

Father Kills Teenage Boy After Daughter Lies About Sneaking Him Into Her Room

March 14th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Father Kills Teenage Boy

Source: KHOU

Let this story serve as a cautionary tale to all the young ones out here. If you’re going to break your parents’ rules, as most of you will, be sure that you own up to it once you get caught.

A 16 year old girl in Texas didn’t do this and a boy lost his life because of it.

Johran McCormick, a 17 year old, was shot and killed by a protective father. According to KHOU, the 16 year old girl snuck McCormick into the home and in her bedroom. Her younger brother went to say goodnight to her and noticed two feet sticking out from under the bed. He went and told his father.

The father walked in and questioned both the young boy and his daughter but the girl claimed she didn’t know McCormick. The father called 911 but an argument ensued before the police could arrive. The father told deputies that McCormick dropped his hands to grab something and that’s when he opened fire. The boy died at the scene.

No one else was injured but the father was transported away from the home on a stretcher as he complained he wasn’t feeling well.
Authorities said the man appeared to be on several medications.

The family had recently moved to that home from a nearby neighborhood.

McCormick’s mother had this say about the situation, “I would like my baby back, but I know that’s not possible. A call you know, I’m sorry. He didn’t deserve to die like that.”

He surely didn’t.

Stories like this always break my heart because all of this could have been avoided. We won’t even discuss the fact that she shouldn’t have snuck the little boy in her room. Teenagers will be teenagers. But instead of lying saying that she didn’t know the boy, she should have been honest, owned up and accepted the consequences.

The father was right to call the police and the little boy should have never tried to argue with him. This is the reason why I was vehemently against my own dad getting a gun for our home. People who own guns are always looking for an excuse to use them. And I’m sure at 2 o clock in the morning everything and everyone is threat. Trigger fingers are real even when you’re just trying to protect your family.

Either way, he should call McCormick’s family and apologize. His mother is right he didn’t deserve to die like that.

What do you make of this story? Who’s to blame?

“My Dad Is From Nigeria, My Mom Is From Texas”: Why Tracing My Roots Is So Important

March 7th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I never realized how important it is to know where you come until I moved to New York City.

I can remember the day I moved into my first apartment by myself, less than a week after moving into the city. A neighbor that lived below me introduced himself and had a thick but charming accent. As ignorant as it probably sounds now, after exchanging pleasantries, I asked him, “So what part of Africa are you from?”

As the sheltered daughter of a Nigerian, I honestly assumed most black people I encountered with accents probably were from West Africa. But that was not the case for this jolly older man, skin a rich chocolate, accent something I had never heard before.

“No, no, no, I’m not from Africa,” he shook his head and said. “I’m from Guyana…in South America?”

“Awwwww okay, I’m sorry,” I said.

While I might have apologized, my first thought was, “Where is that?”

As I settled in here, navigated the different neighborhoods by myself and with friends, and went to parades and festivals, I encountered an array of cultures that I could appreciate. With these cultures were very proud people who put the flags of their countries and islands in their apartment windows, in their cars, on their shirts, and even wore handkerchiefs with the country or island on them on their heads at the gym. It was nice to get to know about other people’s cultures, but I had my own that I needed to respect and embrace.

I’m actually very lucky in that sense. My father, as I somewhat previously stated, is from Benin City in Nigeria, which is in Edo State (Sorry to disappoint the people who always ask if I’m Yoruba or Igbo, I’m neither). I knew this information since I was young, but that was about all I knew. We weren’t taught the language. We didn’t really eat food a lot of my Nigerian friends and their family ate, aside from my dad’s take on fufu. We didn’t practice a lot of the cultural traditions, including curtsying for our elders, and we even called our aunts and uncles, Aunt ___ or Uncle ___, even though I would later learn that these things could be incredibly offensive (my auntie literally yelled at me one day when she thought I called her solely by her name–so after being briefed on things, I just call her auntie). However, our extended family members were well aware of the fact that my brothers and sisters and I were the odd relatives, so Americanized that during my first visit to my father’s city, one of them called my dad a Yankee. Something he was furious about and that at the age of 13, didn’t realize how insulting such a statement was.

Once I started living here and started traveling to Benin City more, I tried to engross myself in everything that I could. I picked up some Bini that I spoke with my sister and my uncle (and still speak with that aunt who yelled at me when I visit her in the Bronx); I ate all the food that caused my sinuses to drain as I could; I bought as many coral beads as my bag could carry before I returned home; I wrote down all the names of my many cousins (more than 40) and started learning how to cook an array of dishes I saw made in Benin City and just at the homes of my aunts and uncles. Jollof rice, fried rice, Efo, and so on and so forth. I still have so much to learn (which my Nigerian friends and boyfriend love to remind me of), but I feel more connected to that part of my culture now than I ever have in the past.

But on the other side of things, I know very little about where my mother comes from. When people ask me about my last name (Uwumarogie) and say, ‘What is that?’ I say “My dad is from Nigeria!” And when they ask me about my mother, the reply is a shrug and “My mom is from Austin, Texas.” All I know of my mother’s side of the family is that they are all over Texas, and as far as my family tree goes for them, Texas is the beginning and the end. But I’m not okay with living with just that information.

I know I’m incredibly blessed because I can say that my father and his family are from Nigeria. They were born there, and those who moved abroad are moving back to die there (my uncle just retired there to start businesses and live happily in the place of his childhood). But there’s another part of me that’s missing. I want to know where I come from not only for myself, but for my mother. My mother, a woman from Austin, Texas who tries her best to welcome and be a part of my father’s culture, even though some relatives say she’s not doing enough to understand the language or practice the customs, or try to speak Bini in front her of face to talk about her, figuratively, behind her back. A woman who told at the Nigerian embassy that she was trying to be Nigerian by marrying a Nigerian man in the process of our family collecting our visas.  All the geles and Ankara fabric doesn’t seem to make a difference.

I’ve already made big strides through my family tree on, but seeing the results my colleagues have obtained just from a tiny saliva sample has me excited for the possibilities. Before my mother’s family members were working day and night to keep a roof over their heads in Texas, including doing so with limited education in the 1800s, they were in Africa, living and thriving. In honor of them, I would like to uncover their roots. My roots.