★ Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly
Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly was an African-American genealogist who traced her American ancestry to the Union of Pocahontas and John Rolfe on April 5, 1614. She was also a member of the Jamestown society. She became a new York state Regent and a member of the National governing Council, the highest-ranking colored woman in the National society of the daughters of the American revolution since it was founded in 1890. She was a pioneer of African-American genealogy. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she was a local Brooklyn historian and a member of the society of old brooklynites, one of the areas oldest community organizations. She was the author of books about Bedford-Stuyvesant, as well as crown heights and Wicksville in Brooklyn, as well as books on family genealogy tracing her familys American roots.
1. Early Life And Education. (Ранняя Жизнь И Образование)
Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly was born in Brooklyn on December 11, 1946 to George Morrell Rhodes, Jr. and Dorothy Hamlin Rhodes, who was born in Brooklyn, new York, in 1924. She was the second of two children to join her older sister, Linda Marie b. Brooklyn, new York, 1944. The name Kelly, acquired as a result of an early failed marriage, remained throughout her life.
As a child, her name was MENA. She attended Brooklyn public schools, Lefferts high school, Erasmus Hall high school, and Brooklyn College in 1970.
Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly was the third generation of her family to live in Brooklyn. Her grandparents bought a mansion in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 1932, and she grew up there until the age of thirteen, when the family moved to Union street in the crown heights neighborhood. the Brooklyn historical society interviewed her about her childhood experiences for its crown heights oral history project. Based on her personal and historical knowledge of these Brooklyn neighborhoods, she later wrote books about Bedford-Stuyvesant and crown heights, two historically black neighborhoods in Brooklyn. These books contain both personal and archival photographs of the area.
The importance of social activism through participation in public life and serving the country was taught to Wilhelmena at an early age. While living in a house on Union street, the young Wilhelmena attended Brooklyn day and Sunday school at the Concord Baptist Church of Christ.
An avid reader, she was particularly drawn to history books. At home, this manifested itself in her questions to her paternal grandparents about what it was like to grow up in the American South of the 1890s and then move to new York city in 1930 during the great migration, a time period from 1916-1970 during which about 6 million African Americans migrated to the urban northeast from the southern United States. These stories also led to her lifelong interest in the history of Brooklyn and the African-American community.
She was fascinated by the genealogy work of her mother and uncle John dukey, "the hamlins of the Hamlin family of Virginia," who hired a professional genealogist in the 1970s to trace the family history. Later, she attributed her interest in genealogy to these events.
Her father, George Rhodes, was a resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant who graduated from boys high school and Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. He qualified for the army Air forces special training program at the Tuskegee Institute. Lieutenant Rhodes had distinguished himself as a member of the Tuskegees crew. His military exploits in aerial combat in Europe were featured on the front page of the Amsterdam news on August 26, 1944.
2.1. Pedigree Organizations. Jamestown Society. (Джеймстаунское Общество)
Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly became a member of the Jamestown society in 2007, tracing her American ancestry back to Pocahontas and John Rolfe. The Jamestown society is an educational, historical, and Patriotic organization dedicated to finding and recording the names of these early settlers, recording their deeds, and promoting the restoration of historical records and artifacts. She served as Governor of the new York-based company for one term from the beginning of 2017 until March 30, 2019. In July 2019, she attended the 400th anniversary of the first General Assembly meeting, speaking in recognition of the" 20-plus Africans brought to Virginia in 1619. Her remarks were published in full in the fall 2019 issue of Jamestown Society Magazine, volume 43, number 2.
2.2. Pedigree Organizations. National society of the daughters of the American revolution. (Национальное общество дочерей Американской революции)
Wilhelmina Rhodes Kelly traced the family on her mothers side to the revolutionary war Patriot Stephen Henry Hamlin, born in 1753 in Prince Georges County. As a Quaker and farmer, Stephen H. Hamlin did not actively participate in the battles. It is documented as a supplier of critical goods in support of the American revolution. They included: 1 horse aged 6 years, 3 "Biwa" 750 pounds of beef, 3 sheep, 135 bushels of corn, 600 pounds of fodder and another 590 bushels of corn. This assistance to the freedom struggle allowed the family to apply for membership in the National society of the daughters of the American revolution NSDAR.
Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly joined DARs Manhattan office in July 2004, eventually becoming head of Regent. In July 2012, she was the organizational Regent for the Dar Carpentry Chapter increase, located in Jamaica, Queens, new York. As such, it often served as a link between the city of Queens and its colonial history. That first year, she was a guest at the Kingsland estate in flushing, Queens, the site of weeping Beech, the mother of all European weeping beeches in the United States. Here, she presented the Newtown Pippen Apple tree to the Queens historical society on behalf of the Chapter. This tree was recognized as the official Apple of new York in 2009 by a resolution of the new York city Council.
Within DAR, she served as the national chair of public relations and media, and as the National Vice chair of the commemoration Committee, during which she designed the tricolor flag in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2011 attacks. She was often referred to as a" walking goodwill Ambassador for the gift in recognition of her constant appearances, teaching at genealogy seminars, and willingness to help others build their family history. Unofficially it is believed that its efforts have led to the fact that 100 women have successfully filled out the documents necessary for entry into NSDAR.
She became the highest-ranking colored woman in the history of DAR, founded in 1890, and a member of the National Board of Management. She was installed as a new York state Regent in June 2019. Her new York state Regents theme was serving and soaring in the Empire state."Her symbol as Regent of the state of new York was a pair of wings with a dangling pearl.
3. Professional Genealogical Researcher. (Профессиональный Генеалогический Исследователь)
Wilhelmina has helped more than a hundred women with genealogical research, identifying their ancestry from an American patriot who fought or served in the revolution, and qualifying them as NSDAR members. She was a member of the Association of professional genealogists-the new York company APG-NY. She helped found the Macon library branch of the aags Afro-Atlantic genealogical society, and has also worked with the Wicksville heritage society and the aahgs African-American historical and Genealogical society.
4. Death. (Смерть)
In the summer of 2019, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. In the last months of her life, she was taken care of by her sister Linda and her lifelong friend Tony Wilkenson. She died on October 16, 2019.
Services were held on Thursday, October 24, 2019, at the bridge street AME Church in Brooklyn. During her funeral, Kelly was honored by the National society of the daughters of the American revolution NSDAR, the old Brooklyn sob Society, the Jamestown society, and the alpha omega sisters service of Delta Sigma theta Sorority.
She was buried on Thursday, October 24, 2019, at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale, new York. Her final resting place vividly reflects her dedication to American history. She chose eternal rest in the garden of Peace, just off forest drive, between North and South Constitution Avenues.
5. Publications. (Публикации)
- Crown Heights and Weeksville Pub 2009.
- The Hines Bush family: and other related people of color from the Barnwell, Carolinas area 1842-2004 pub 2004.
- Bedford-Stuyvesant Pub 2007. (Бедфорд-Стайвесант Паб 2007)
- The long and winding road to Jamestown, Virginia 1607 Pub 2009.
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