A Teenager Was Bullied. His Ancestors Saved Him – The New York Times

Dennis Richmond Jr. dove into his family history at an early age and was fascinated by the ancestors he discovered. From the New York Times (26 February 2021)

In March 2008, Dennis Richmond Jr. watched “Roots” with his father, and it changed his life. It was a Sunday, the Richmonds’ day for leafing through family photographs in their apartment in Yonkers, N.Y., looking at relatives going back about a century. “Roots,” Alex Haley’s semifictional account of his family’s journey from West Africa, posed a challenge: How far back could young Dennis trace his own ancestors?

After watching the mini-series’ first DVD, he ran upstairs to ask his mother about the names of her relatives. Then that evening, Dennis, a studious 13-year-old, went on the family computer and found a 1930 United States Census entry for his maternal great-grandmother. The listing included the name of her father, Brutus Bowens, born in 1889 in South Carolina.


“That just did something for me,” Mr. Richmond said. “That’s where the story begins: St. Stephen, South Carolina.”

Mr. Richmond, now 26, a writer and substitute teacher, is the kind of person who begins sentences, “I was born in 1995,” or “My father was born in 1955.” When he thought about his grandmother having parents, who in turn had parents, he was floored. “It blew my mind,” he said. “The seed was planted. And I’ve been steadfast ever since.”

Read more of this fantastic New York Times Article.


2 thoughts on “A Teenager Was Bullied. His Ancestors Saved Him – The New York Times

  1. Sarah Burks

    This was a great article. Thank you for sharing it. Does the author have a family connection to Cambridge or is he giving a book talk?



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