One of the most distinctive aspects of African American culture is the Family Reunion, the weekend gathering of extended family members who reconnect, share, update and rediscover.
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It has its roots in Emancipation of the mid 19th century. Formerly enslaved people placed “Information Wanted” advertisements in search of family who were separated from them under the cruel practice of human bondage.
Reunions grew and became more joyful gatherings during the Great Migration, however, when, between 1915-1940, nearly four million African Americans fled the South to the North and West. As they found education and professional opportunities that were denied to them in the Jim Crow South, they developed the country’s first African American middle class. With their discretionary income, they traveled back to the family and the communities they left behind. Many of them used the Negro Motorist Green Book to help them find welcoming establishments on their journey.
The reunion became a tangible symbol of memory and resilience that endured atrocities since slavery. Today, African American family reunions continue as an intergenerational celebration of community, fellowship and heritage.
Check out these recent family reunions in South Carolina: