Sunday, October 9, 2011


As so many great storytellers have explained, storytelling transforms both the teller and the hearer, both the writer and the reader.  My grandmother, Naomi James Witherspoon, was the first to give me the gift of  the Barnes, James, Johnson story.  These stories fascinated me even then.  From grandmother's lips to my ears.  I was transformed.

So it was, that I decided to start this blog and bring all of those stories into the 21st century, forever immortalized in this digital web format.  I acted out of a sense of deep urgency, afraid that the orality of our family's epic tale might die with my generation.  I fear that my generation has nurtured the last students of history.

My vision for this project is limited.  I just know one thing - our story must be preserved.  It was not until fairly recently that I realized why the Barnes, James, Johnson story is so compelling.  It is the quintessential American narrative.  These narratives are wrought with conflict, racial paradoxes, love, beauty, and majesty.

So, Family, I hope you will help me shape all of your stories so that future generations will continue telling these stories and never forget who they are and where they are going.

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