Monday, January 20, 2014

He Extended the Hand of Friendship and I Accepted It

Meeting Colin Kelly in Arkansas in 2010
A man extended a hand of friendship to me, and I accepted it. 

In 2009, I received an email message from a man who lives near Tulsa Oklahoma. The message was short, and to the point. It said:

"I recently learned about you in an article in the Chronicles of Oklahoma about Jackson Crow. Nail Perry also mentioned in the article is my ancestor. I would appreciate any correspondence with you regarding the Perry family and would gladly share what I know of them." -Colin Kelley

I think after reading the message I simply said, "Wow--Nail Perry?" The name was familiar to me, because Nail Perry had testified on behalf of my gr.grandparents,Samuel and Sallie Walton when they appeared in front of the Dawes Commission. And Nail Perry was part of the Choctaw Family that had been the family where my ancestors were enslaved. Right away I replied to him, and he was gracious and kind and sharing. 

Well, In February 2010 I met this man. Was I nervous? Well yes a bit. But when I was on a trip to Arkansas, he and a cousin Dick Perry, both came to meet me. This was the first time I had been able to have such a conversation with a descendant of a slaveholder. They were both citizens of the Choctaw Nation. 

When he arrived at the home of a friend Tonia Holleman of Van Buren Arkansas, where I was staying there was a light rain. I had worried that the rain might cause him to change his mind about coming, but it did not. He drove from his home near Tulsa Oklahoma, and with him he brought some photos of his own ancestors and documents that might be of interest to me. 

We talked, we laughed and we shared. I taped part of that meeting, and I am still grateful that we had the chance to meet, and that this man truly came to the table with an outstretched hand of friendship with me. I accepted it, and truly appreciate the spirit of sharing and giving that I received. 

So,  on this day in which we remember the words and actions of Dr. King, I thought I would share my experience here in the video above. day the sons of former slaves and 
the sons of former slave holders 
will be able to site down at the table of brotherhood."      

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1963-

1 comment:

True Lewis said...

Love all the opportunities you get on your research. I want to always extend "My Hand" and Come to the Table for any new Descendents I meet. This was Wonderful!