©2021 All Rights Reserved Carole Copeland Thomas • (508) 947-5755 • Carole@mssconnect.com
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This year's Gaines Family Reunion was particularly poignant for me and for my daughter and many of my cousins, nieces, nephews, and other relatives who shared hugs, kisses, and stories last weekend in Orlando. First, it was sad to acknowledge that our family historian, Clarence Gaines, had died, leaving us with more questions about our expanding family that available answers. Meeting his brother, Douglass, and nephew, Doug, Jr. for the first time was comforting in our collective time of mourning.
Then, it was the realization that our family was increasingly multicultural. Significant others who are Jewish, Russian, Hispanic and everything in between are also now a part of the Gaines equation. And that's a big aha moment for me.
The question is, who is in your family mix? And what exactly does a modern-day American family look like in the days of diversity, multiculturalism, mixed marriages and inclusion?
We'll explore this topic and its impact on the very social fabric of our society.
About The Gaines Family
The Gaines Family represent the descendants of William and Louisa Gaines, two slaves who were allowed to marry on the Georgia plantation in Georgia in the 1700s. They had 14 children, and the family was not split up, like many slave families during that era of African bondage. One of their 14 children, Gus Gaines, had 14 children, and we are of that lineage.
The reunions started in 1986 when cousins Theresa Johnson and Lula McKeever decided to pull the family together for biannual gatherings in celebration of our heritage and deep roots in America. Meticulous family research followed when Clarence Gaines took charge of that multigenerational activity.
Now some 32 years later the matriarch of the family remains Theresa Johnson, who just celebrated her 90th birthday.
Our family has owned small community banks, has produced doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, business owners and countless ministers in the past 200 years. We are also aligned with the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, even though we are not directly related to him. And two Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church are family ancestors.
My mother's paternal grandmother was Sarah Gaines, one of the 14 children of Gus Gaines. I pay tribute to Sarah, my great-grandmother, and all other members of the Gaines family who came before me.
We are Americans. We are a multicultural American Family!
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