Genealogy | St. Louis Public Radio

Genealogy

For African Americans and people from Africa and the African diaspora, the 2020 census is already raising questions.
DAVID KOVALUK | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Growing up in the 1960s, Carolyn Kidd Royal experienced racist incidents that, combined with the way African American history was taught in schools, affected her sense of identity for the worse. 

“In that mid-’60s timeframe ... you weren’t happy that your skin was brown, that your hair was a little different; and overall, we did not have a sense of pride in our race and in our individual selves. At least, I didn’t,” she said.

But, as the civil rights movement gave way to the Black Power movement, shifts in culture made a difference. Specifically, the 1969 James Brown classic “Say It Loud.”

Evelynn Johnson, second from left, and her family meet with genealogist Kenyatta Berry, second from right, at Union Station in St. Louis during filming for PBS' 'Genealogy Roadshow.' Johnson's story will be shared in the show's Feb. 10, 2015, episode.
Courtesy of Jason Winkeler / PBS

When PBS’ “Genealogy Roadshow” asked for queries from St. Louis residents last year, Evelynn Johnson gave them her great-grandfather's name.

“I was asking my mom if were kin to another family that shared our last name,” Johnson told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday. “She said ‘Well, this is your great-grandfather’s name. See if they know him.’”