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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.

Chapter 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.

On a 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.

Alane Roundtree, Historian

It's been 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 Libraries.

Dr. 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


As I 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.

Your 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 endeavor.

Claude H. 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

George Geder, Historian & Photo Restoration Artist

The author can be contacted at


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