5th generation Shankle/Coleman, descendant.
Learn more here: http://thelongblackline.org/about/the-organization/
I am on my way back to Shankleville, a settlement founded by ex-slaves, this weekend. This time to attend a "homecoming." Do you have a family homecoming in rural Texas? Please let me know. I'd
love to visit, and include your community in my dissertation. And by the way, not every settlement was a utopia, full of productive land, middle class, or chock full of fancy historic sites. That is fine.Those are the places and people I am most interested in researching, so contact me!
A little about homecomings which are both celebrations and cultural sustainability practice in Black rural Texas in this essay excerpt by Mellonee Burnim, Guest Cultural Resource Commentator, Professor and Director, Ethnomusicology Institute, Department of
Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
"The tradition of homecomings held in African American churches dates back at least to the turn of the twentieth century. The ritual has both southern and rural roots and, according to the research of Yvonne Jones (1980), among blacks in Gorgus, North Carolina, the earliest of homecomings held in the church were familial rather than church-sponsored events. Documentation exists for a 1937 homecoming in Gorgus, North Carolina, held after the morning worship service at Greymore Chapel Church, so named as a tribute to the founding ancestors of the hamlet of 200 people, on the second Sunday of September. While the minister at this event was an invited “guest,” and the format was a business meeting rather than a religious ceremony, the ritual components of the gathering—out-of-town guests, intergenerational participation, designated guest speaker, special music, and dinner on the grounds—also define church-sponsored homecoming celebrations in both contemporary and historical contexts.
Whereas the Gorgus homecomings celebrated familial kinship within a specific locale, the tradition of African American church homecoming expands the ritual to include those who identify with a community of Christian believers. Ethnographic accounts of homecoming services across the South from North Carolina to Mississippi,* and from Texas to Alabama, uniformly define the homecoming as ecumenical, intergenerational, and communal. That is to say, participation from ministers and members of local churches, whether Primitive Baptist, Missionary Baptist or Methodist (the denominations to which the majority of Southern African American rural Christians belonged), was both welcomed and encouraged. Not every church had its own homecoming, but most definitely everyone, saved or sinner, could participate in the homecoming service of their choice."
And here's more about another settlement, Mt. Union: