“Getting Ready to Cast My Vote – Cassie Reddick Whitmore”

Behind the scenes of the Alexandria Gazette Packet’s article on, “Getting Ready to Cast My Vote – Cassie Reddick Whitmore”– dated December 9, 2020.

Gale Brooks-Ogden

Gale Arlene Brooks Ogden is her family’s historian. She played a major role in providing information on her family who are connected to the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery. Her family has been in Alexandria since the Civil War.

The article that was in the Alexandria Gazette focused on Gale’s great-grandmother, Cassie Reddick Whitmore. Although, Gale never had a chance to meet Cassie, she collected family stories and researched Cassie’s life. Cassie was dead almost two decades before Gale was born.

Through Gale’s research, she was able to know a lot about Cassie’s life. Cassie had the strong fierce spirit of her parents. Both of Cassie’s parents were born in enslaved and they were bold enough to make it from Hartford, North Carolina and Loudoun, Virginia during the civil war to Alexandria.

Cassie also seek freedom just like her parents. She wanted the freedom to cast her vote. With the passing of the 19th Amendment, Cassie cast her vote in the November 2, 1920 Election for the presidential candidate Warren G. Harding. Cassie made history and that history was passed down for 100 years to her great-granddaughter Gail.

Correction to the Alexandria Gazette article on page 6, Cassie Reddick Whitmore. Correction on the first line it should be 19th Amendment.   In the seven paragraph, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was 32nd President and not the 39th. 

Check out this article on “Getting Ready to Cast My Vote – Cassie Reddick Whitmore”– dated December 9, 2020 in the Alexandria Gazette Packet on page 6 at
http://connectionarchives.com/PDF/2020/120920/Alexandria.pdf.

Alexandria’s African American Local History

 

Char McCargo Bah

I was born in Alexandria, Virginia in the 1950s. I attended Charles Houston Elementary School when it was segregated. When it was time for middle school in the 1970s, Parker-Gray was already integrated.

The only thing I remembered about African American (Black) History from elementary to middle school was the one-liner about slavery.

One year after high school, one event changed my life for every. In 1976, Alex Haley’s book “Roots” came out and the movie followed in 1977. I never thought that it was possible to research my family who had been in the United States since the 1700s, but Alex Haley made me think I could.

Forty-four years later, I am still just as passionate about genealogy as I was in 1976. I have found so many family members during these forty-years of research. Those individuals that I located never knew the achievements that our family members made. These achievements were in their local community. Because of my relatives, I have expanded my research into uncovering local histories about African Americans in Alexandria. My readers have let me know through their many e-mails how my articles have resonated with them.

I would like to thank my readers for their many e-mails of gratitude for my local history articles. I know how my readers feel because I was in their shoes when I found out about my relatives and their contributions to their community.

I would like to thank the Alexandria Gazette Newspaper for giving me the platform to write about the local histories of African Americans.

Recently, the Zebra newspaper featured me in their newspaper. I like to thank Audrey P. Davis, the Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum for interviewing me and the Zebra Production and Sale Assistant, Shenise Foster.

You can read, “The Zebra Newspaper” article on page 8, at https://thezebra.advanced-pub.com/?issueID=53&pageID=1

 

Behind the Scene – “Giving Back to the Youth: Joyce Casey Sanchez”

Mrs. Joyce Sanchez was born to a very strong and independent mother, Ada Virginia Casey. Joyce’s father died when she was young. Ada raised her four children in the close knitted community in the West End of Alexandria known as Seminary area.

Ada Virginia Casey raised her children to be strong, independent and leaders. Joyce took her mother’s teachings to heart and became a strong advocate for the youth. She not only prepared herself for the challenge, she exceeded in all her studies in high school as well as college. By getting her education, she prepared herself for the challenge of educating the youth in Alexandria. What she could not accomplish as a teacher, she accomplished through the many organizations that she was a member.

She always had her eyes on making the Alexandria youth the best they could be with the right educational tools.

You can read more about Joyce Casey Sanchez in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper dated October 14, 2020 on page 7 at http://connectionarchives.com/PDF/2020/101420/Alexandria.pdf.

Behind the Scene – “He Believed In the Constitution: Reverend Fields Cook”

Reverend Fields Cook was a man that was well beyond his times on politics and the constitution as it relates to Colored communities. He was not the type of person that overlooked an opportunity. He looked opportunity in the face and took advantage of it.

Reverend Fields Cook’s Headstone

In 1847, Fields Cook wrote a 32-page handwritten unpublished autobiography manuscript of his life from childhood to early adulthood. In addition, since 1902 the handwritten manuscript has been at the Library of Congress. Many scholars have attributed the narrative to Fields Cook, a Richmond preacher, medical practitioner and leader of Richmond’s black community after the Civil War.

Fields Cook was born in 1817 (1814) as an enslaved person in King Williams County, Virginia. He obtained his freedom in 1853 from his master in King Williams County. He worked in Richmond as a barber. By time the Civil War started, he was a lay preacher in Richmond’s First African Baptist Church. Prior to the Civil War, he was able to purchase the freedom of his wife, children and siblings. After the Civil War, he owned property worth $2,400.

During the Civil War and after, Cook became very active in politics, as well as helping the Colored race. He worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau and he became a prominent Colored leader who helped organize a meeting in 1865 to protest the treatment of Colored soldiers. In May 1867, he was one of five colored men who was appointed to the federal grand jury that indicted the former President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis for treason. In addition, he was involved in establishing a biracial Republican party in Virginia in the late 1860s. He ran in 1869 for the U.S. Congress as an independent candidate and lost. After his unsuccessful run for Congress, he accepted a job at the Freedman’s Savings Bank in Alexandria.

His most historic accomplishment took place when he migrated to Alexandria, Virginia in 1870.

You can read more about Reverend Fields Cook in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper dated October 1, 2020 on page 8 at http://connectionarchives.com/PDF/2020/093020/Alexandria.pdf.

%d bloggers like this: