Contemplating Ancestry

September 27, 2023

Good morning lovelies.

Knowing your history.

“The fact that the bridge is shaky does not mean it will break”-Igbo Tribe from Nigeria Proverb

This proverb I heard this morning got me thinking about a time when I was told several times from different people that I have met from the Igbo Tribe of Nigeria that they think I am from that tribe based on certain features I carry. I embraced it immediately as my ancestry takes me as far back as coming from 70 percent Nigeria but ends there. I immediately felt a connection when they looked at me and saw me identifying me as being one of them. My only credentials being my facial features. Being an African American, we know the story of how our connection to our ancestry was broken due to slavery. Families separated, identities stripped away, names changed to their owners given names or what their job was. My family last given name is Baker, from my pops, Herbert Lee Baker, of which I learned that Bakers was what my ancestors did when they were enslaved, so the story was told to us. Years ago I was obsessed with discovering my ancestors. Like someone adopted wanting to know where they came from. Who were my people. What did they survive and what were their stories. Wanting to know my history. Not being able to retrace back exactly to where my people come from saddened me for a long time. Wanting to know who were the ones that made it through so I could be here today. I could only go back as far as the 1800’s and then it stopped. The rest has been buried with our oral historians in our family who have long since passed away. Had I known during those times of storytelling when I was younger how important these stories were to who I am I would have written them down. But the youth in me was not curious enough at those times. One day I will journey there, to Nigeria, to where I know my history started even though I may not know the names and faces of the people, my ancestors, that is my thread of stories. I feel them and I sense them, encouraging me to live out my dreams, because I’m here and they live on through me and guide me. To our history. Love S