I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning pouring
over it. I couldn't put it down. "Proud" and "Inspired"
are the two words that immediately spring to mind.
after chapter bears witness to the love and care that
went into retrieving your lost heritage. You've managed
to weave the work of discovery together with the family
history you've restored to create a book that should
have wide appeal to those just embarking on their own
journey of discovery, as well as the seasoned
researcher. To those still contemplating whether, or
how, they should begin, this book will provide solid
methodology and inspiration to do so.
personal note, as someone who has been researching
African American enslaved ancestry for over ten years in
the state of South Carolina, I found the book to be of
immense inspiration. The chapters, Shaking the Family
Tree Even Harder and Bridging the Gap Between
America and West Africa, have given me renewed
energy in the search for that "ultimate bridge." I was
struck more than once by certain similarities in our
respective searches and reminded of how much we can all
learn through these shared experiences. I am still
taking many notes from your book.
many years since my book Black Genealogy came out
in 1977. It was the first guide book on how to trace
African-American genealogy, the same year as Alex
Haley's blockbuster "Roots" appeared. A lot of new
techniques in researching family history are used now
but were not available in those days such as the
internet and DNA. You are to be commended for your
diligent research in exploring numerous records that
helped you trace your ancestry back to Africa. I
am sure that members of your family are proud that you
have completed the circle in tracing their heritage to
the Motherland. Readers of your book will be
encouraged to research their own history after reading
Mississippi to Africa: A Journey of Discovery.
Your book is a welcomed edition to the Charles L.
Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University
Charles L. Blockson, Curator Emeritus
The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple
University, Philadelphia, PA
Author of Black Genealogy
I just finished reading your
book. I couldn't put it down and have recommended it to
several others. I have been researching for many years,
but you have really inspired me to put the story of my
research down on paper. You truly personified "leave no
stone unturned" and I was constantly amazed at your
level of effort.
Robyn Smith, Genealogist
Since the writing of my
co-authored book Black Genesis in 1977, many
how-to books have been written to compliment this
first, African-American genealogical resource book.
Great advances have been made in the field of
African-American genealogy, and Mississippi to
Africa: A Journey of Discovery is one of those
advances. Melvin Collier's book is an easy read, and
the novice and advanced researcher finds plenty of help
to break down the genealogical wall of slavery. He also
gives us a clear path to uncovering our African roots
using conventional and DNA means.
Dr. James M. Rose
Author of Black Genesis
poured over the vast amount of well-presented
information, I began to feel connected to people who
could have just as easily been my own ancestors. The
many twists and turns that you had to endure in
unearthing this history gave me a deeper insight as to
the many difficulties, challenges and roadblocks that
our ancestors faced just to survive. Yet these
challenges were met in spite of their lack of resources.
This was especially inspiring to me as my paternal roots
are in Mississippi.
book was extremely well-documented and, in my opinion,
could easily serve as a textbook for a course in tracing
family history. The story holds the reader's attention
and the writing is simple and direct without becoming
too dry. It also paints a picture of the land of freedom
that was not for those who were brought here to build
the nation but restrained from partaking of the fruits.
This, too, is American History. The stories of broken
families, twisted families and intermingled families and
generally inhuman behavior has not been told as an
integral part of the story of this nation and the many
ripples which still reach us today. Your book is a much
needed step on the path toward that truth. I
congratulate you on your curiosity and honor you for the
tenacity to address and complete this difficult
Oliver II of New York
Mississippi to Africa gave me a clear picture and
understanding of the importance of family connection and
roots and the role parents play in maintaining the
family structure. The journey you took from
Mississippi to Africa vividly describes how ingenious
our slave ancestors were in maintaining that family
structure under the conditions they were forced to live.
I hope each one who reads your book understands how,
through your search, you revealed the spirits, habits,
and capacities of a resilient people.
Almedia Knight, Poet
Mississippi to Africa is not a lightweight book. It
could have very easily been one of those scholarly tomes
that the lay family historian would shy away from.
However, I am hear to say that would be a mistake.
Melvin Collier has wisely used his family and personal
research and experiences to deliver a text that should
be read by anyone who is serious about African
Ancestored Genealogy. Read complete review at
Geder, Historian & Photo Restoration Artist
The author can be contacted at