Saturday, December 10, 2016


The Great Negro Migration North

The first great Negro migration was out Africa by force during the slave trade of peoples living along the West African coast. Between 1440 until as late as 1900 over 12.5 million Africans were transported against their will to North America, South America (Americas 10.5 million) the Caribbean and other Islands (2 million). If anyone has done their DNA more than likely you will see a West Coast African connection as part of your origins.

When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863 less than 8% of Black Americans lived in the Northeast.  Between 1910 and 1970 about 6 million Blacks migrated north. The population of Black Americans in the state of Georgia during 1920 was 41.7% and in 1950 it was reduced to 38.9%.  New York and Chicago were the top destinations followed by Philadelphia, St. Louis, Detroit and Pittsburgh.

Many of our relatives made that trek. I would like to dedicate this blog to Roslyn Yvonne McBrayer Wall who passed away on October 15, 2016. Roslyn like many of our family members were first generation ‘northerners”.   Roslyn was born in 1926 in Washington DC at 166 Bryant Street to Willie Bell McBrayer and Joseph McBrayer. 

166 Bryant Street Today

Her mother Willie Rachel Bell was born in 1893 in Milledgeville, Ga to Mary Louise “Mollie” Reid and Warren Charles Bell.  When Warren passed away in 1901 Willie moved to Eatonton, GA to live with her Grandmother Katherine “Kate” Rainey, daughters Katie “Sissy” Reid, “Big Willie” Rainey, Anne Claudius Rainey, Jessie Rainey. Brother Tommie Lee Rainey, and nephew Ambrose Reid. Willie’s sisters Leo, Annie Laura, Ione, and Ella remained in Milledgeville while Mollie struggled to make a living as a seamstress. Mollie eventually headed north to Boston (1901 – 1938) to work as a seamstress for the Scarrett (not sure of the spelling) family.

Many of our relatives decided to leave the south behind and head north in hopes of better living and working conditions. I am not quite sure who was the first one to leave Milledgeville but as in many families, once one family member got settled it gave the ability for others to make an easier transition. I think the first stop for Willie was Philadelphia. Many others passed through Willie's home while waiting to get settled including my father. Ambrose Reid ended up settling Philadelphia after he finished playing baseball. We also had several relative settle in the Washington, DC area, but that is another story.

Other locations outside of Georgia where we find family include Red Bank, NJ, Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, Washington, DC, Silver Springs, MD. New York City area, NY.  Las Vegas, NV, Cincinnati, OH, several locations in Florida and California.

This April I will be making the move to California. I will never forget my southern roots. As you tell people where you are from don’t forget that our roots run deep in Georgia.  As Warren Steele used to say “I got Georgia red clay in my blood.” We are true Americans. Our ancestors worked hard, fought, stood the test of time, we are still here!

 The Reid/Rainey Family

Grandmother Kate             Mollie Reid Bell                 Tommy Lee Rainey

                       Jessie Rainey Reid                Big Willie                         Annie Claude

Does anyone have a photo of Katie “Sissy” Reid?
Other News

I would like to welcome Lydia Marshall to our family blog.  Lydia and I connected via Ancestry.   Lydia’s is a descendant of another Reid family from Eatonton, GA.  It appears that Mollie Reid was related to a Reid family through the common ancestor of David Henry Reid (Mollie and Katie’s (Sissy) father). 

Through us talking we solved two mysteries.  I had a photo from Big Mama (Annie Laura) who told me (when I was 15) it was Fayette Reid.  I could never find Fayette’s name later in any family record. Reason being,  I spelled it wrong; it is Phette Reid. She was Big Mama’s cousin and daughter of Sofia and Richard Reid. 
Phette Reid
The second mystery is where Ambrose’s middle name came from.  Jessie Rainey (daughter of Kate Broyle Rainey and William Suther, sister to Mollie) was mother to Ambrose.  Ambrose’s father was Sidney Reid (Son of Richard and Sofia Reid). Richard and Sofia also had a daughter named Volia. Grandmother Kate had a son named Tommy Lee Rainey (Uncle Bubba).  Ambrose’s middle name was LeeVoila.  VoilĂ ! I always thought that was such a strange middle name now it all makes sense. 

Ambrose Reid

This is where collective family historical research is so important.  Connecting and talking through these stories are important so we can continue to write and share our rich history.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season! Click on the video for a great holiday song written and performed by Trevor! Enjoy!


 Happy Researching! Please share your family stories and photos! 
Looking forward to a great 2017!