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Lunch and Learn: “‘Aunt’ Minerva & ‘Uncle’ Wallace: “How to Research African American Ancestors” with R. B. Ward

April 11, 12 p.m.1:15 p.m.

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On Thursday, April 11, from noon to 1:15 p.m., R. B. Ward will present a Lunch and Learn webinar about the composers of spirituals, “Uncle Wallace” and “Aunt Minerva” Willis. They were enslaved in the old Choctaw Nation area of Oklahoma during the mid-19th century.

For almost one hundred years, scholars assumed that Wallace Willis and Minerva Willis were husband and wife. Research conducted in 2019‒21 by R. B. Ward, a historian, attorney, genealogist, and descendant of the Willis family, uncovered documentary evidence revealing that Wallace and Minerva Willis were father and daughter, not husband and wife. This fact was made clear in Wallace Willis’s obituary, written by Rev. Alexander Reid and published in the December 1884 issue of The Fisk Herald, and it is corroborated in legal documents.

Register for the webinar.


April 11
12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.
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