Florida Palmettos (or are they Palms?)

Most of my posts have been about my paternal side of the family. My maternal side is just as interesting. The unfortunate thing is while I studied an entire culture connected with my father’s family, I was unable to do the same with my mother’s side as thoroughly. I do know bits and pieces of the history, but the true family historian was my uncle. I mean he did some research like tracing the family back to Barbados (I think) and perhaps beyond. My uncle found out a lot of interesting things and I really wish that I had that opportunity to sit down with him before he passed on. I know that it would have been an enjoyable conversation. After all, my uncle was a very interesting man and he deserves his own separate blog post. I understand that he left a wealth of information with his sons though and perhaps they’ll be willing to share with me (*hint*).

I did listen to my grandmother, Gramee. When she would stay with us or when we would go to visit her in Proivdence, she would tell me some stories about her growing up. I know that she was born in Key West, Florida (Shoot, with this snow storm we just had, I wish I lived there now!), and she moved to Tampa at some point. With it being Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, I think that it’s only fitting that I tell you about how Gramee spent a lot of time with her grandmother, HenriETta (Accent on the third syllable, if you please). When the two of them would ride the bus, she would refuse to ride in the back (Rosa Parks who?). Gramee would try get her to go to the back, but uh-uh, she was riding in the front and Gramee had no choice but to sit in the back alone for obvious reasons. Great, Great Grandma HenriETta is in this book of well off Black people in Tampa in the 18th and 19th Centuries called Forgotten Legacy. So you know there is history to be discovered there.

Anyway, I’m giving my maternal side of my family the task (and I hope that they accept) of sharing what they know, whether it is through documented historical accounts or stories in passing. Who knows, one day I might pen a novel about a Tampa society woman of color and her family :).

Henrietta Keeling

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One response to “Florida Palmettos (or are they Palms?)

  1. Pingback: The Palm of Inspiration | authorsherysenoelledubose

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