Posts Tagged ‘autosomal testing’

2016 Reunion: The Vote

June 11, 2016

So the discussion was finished. One family member, an attorney, states that DNA was admissible in a court of law. Never mind that the type of DNA testing for court purposes is different from the type of DNA test used for genealogical purposes.

The vote was called: there were no “nays” heard. The president called for a secret ballot. Pre-prepared ballots were produced for only the blood descendants who were members of the association. Keep in mind that there is no standard for determining who is blood or not, except that everybody knew who everybody else was.

The vote passed 20-6 to allow DNA membership.

Then the discussion turned to the restoration project at the Lawton-Seabrook Cemetery on Edisto Island, where the brick wall surrounding the cemetery is being historically repaired.

Things suddenly took a turn into the Twilight Zone.

One woman said that she would not contribute to the project because Ruth (clearly meaning me) was taking bricks and shipping them to California.  Another woman gasped in mock horror: “Yoo ah STEALING bricks from a CEMETERY?” No, not from a cemetery on Edisto, I said, I did take one lying on the ground in the bamboo underbrush at Black Swamp Plantation (2 hours from Edisto).” The first lady pointed dramatically at one of our DNA guests and said, “You are shipping them to him!!”

I cannot use enough exclamation points after that last statement to convey the proper level of drama.

I have been to Edisto cemetery twice, and I documented them both here on the blog. The second time was at the family reunion one year ago where there were plenty of witnesses who can confirm that I didn’t swipe a brick.

I think the meeting disbursed after that. Not sure. Sat in my chair, stunned a bit.

I do not fault the president of the association at all. It was a good point of procedure that the vote was taken on paper and recorded for posterity. There is a certain matriarch who interrupts the meeting whenever she wants to say whatever she wants to say, and I have issue with that because she is not recognized by the chair. She is the same person who pushed Sugar out of the way when she first met him. He approached her, shook her hand, introduced himself, and she shook his right hand with her right hand and put her left hand on his right shoulder and pushed him out of the way.

There was an adult gathering for adult beverages after the meeting disbursed. We solved the world’s problems. And we resolved to embrace our similarities and our differences.

Because we have no time for bricks to be thrown.



I didn’t want to go to the reunion the following day. I’m pretty sure that this would have been taken as a sign of defeat, so I went. But I was a rebel and didn’t wear a name tag in protest.

Afterwards we posed for a sweaty parking lot photo. An in-June-in-Savannah-after-a-tropical-depression kind of sweaty.


I have cried over the meanness of it all. I think I have worked through the thousand stages of grief. I can’t even imagine how hard the civil rights era was. Jordan and his great-aunt Francine never lost a moment of class and graciousness.

But I am not done talking about this.

Because this is what progress looks like: