We invite parents, educators, mentors, law enforcement, community members, and all who care about our children’s futures to join My Roots Foundation Thursday, October 19, 2017 as we present Let’s Talk Roots; a community event to hear a panel discussion by family history and education experts as we talk about the importance of family history and the role family stories play in our lives and that of our children. You do not want to miss this informative event.  Join us  discuss how knowing one’s own family narrative can change the course of a life.

About the Panelist

Alonzo Felder
President, My Roots Foundation

Alonzo Felder earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations with a Technical Communication Specialization from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.  Alonzo has a career spanning over 30 years at Duke University as a IT Support User Analyst.

Over the last 4 decades, Mr. Felder has contributed to scientific articles, journal publications, and medical research studies.  He has performed historical research for use in a variety of presentations and publications.  He has also presented on family history research at numerous workshops/presentations.

He is an active online participant/contributor on a number of Genealogy oriented forums: including GenForum, Finding Your Roots, AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum, Genealogy.com, Ancestry.com just to name a few.  Oral history contributions by Alonzo are also a part of the Library of Congress collection.

Over the last 4 decades Mr. Felder has also co-authored, co-investigated, edited, produced and disseminated scientific articles, and journals, and medical research studies.  He has also performed historical research for use in a variety of presentations and publications.  He has also presented on family history research at numerous workshops/presentations.

He is an online participant/contributor on a number of Genealogy oriented forums: including GenForum, Finding Your Roots, AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum, Genealogy.com, Ancestry.com just to name a few.

In 2009 he was co-Producer of the historical art exhibit Of Our Grandfathers.  The exhibit ran the entire month of February at THE LoDi PROJECT museum in Raleigh.This exhibit centered around Mr. Felder's maternal great grandfather, Albert Sidney James Allen, and grandfather, Ned E. Felder.  The video portion displays family photographs from the 1860s through 1960s. The artists use these dignified and diverse images of African Americans and legal documents to explore lessons about respect, the importance of elders, faith, honor and other themes.

Mr. Felder and his work is referenced in the book Emancipation Betrayed:The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 By Paul Ortiz.  His research is also referenced in Old South, New South, or Down South? Florida and the Modern Civil Rights Movement edited by Irvin D.S. Winsboro. Both publications have been awarded the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Award, which recognizes an outstanding book relating to Florida's ethnic groups. Sponsored by the Florida Historical Society, winners of this award have exposed and analyzed a significant social issue from a historical perspective.

In 2014 Mr. Felder’s work was featured on the “Finding Your Roots” TV show website. And in 2015 his submissions were featured on The Race Card Project by Michele Norris, one of the hosts of NPR’s flagship afternoon broadcast, All Things Considered.

Kristen Ziller
Library Media Specialist, Pine Hollow Middle School

Kristen's professional background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Florida State University (Go Seminoles!) and a Master's degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida. Shortly after earning her Master’s degree, she moved to Raleigh to begin a career as a library media specialist at Durant Road Middle School, where she worked for 13 years. In July 2016, She transitioned to open the brand-new library media center at Pine Hollow Middle School.
From Kristen: I have always been very close to my family and love hearing the stories of my ancestors. My mom is a genealogist, so my family gatherings always include stories about our ancestry. My mom's side of the family has been in the United States for several centuries, with deep roots in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. My dad's side of the family includes ancestors who immigrated from the Tyrol region of northern Italy through Ellis Island in the early 1900s. I love the unique heritage of both sides of my family and enjoy exploring resources to tell my ancestors’ stories.
I have collaborated with English Language Arts teacher, Laura Richardson, on creating family history experiences for our middle school students since 2013. These learning experiences are powerful and authentic and allow students to make rich connections between themselves and their heritage. Encouraging students to explore their roots and tell their ancestors’ stories continues to be one of my greatest passions in my work as a library media specialist.

Paul Ortiz
Director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, University of Florida

Since 2008, Paul Ortiz has served as the director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and associate professor of history at the University of Florida. Under his leadership, the Proctor Program has earned three national academic awards and has raised over one million dollars in grants and contracts which have sustained student oral history field work in Mexican American Studies, African American Studies, Native American history, studies of global climate change and many other topics.

Paul was president of the Oral History Association for the 2014-2015 term.

Paul’s publications include the Emancipation Betrayed (University of California Press) a history of the Black Freedom struggle in Florida, and the co-edited volume, Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Jim Crow South which recently went into its 4th printing (New Press).

His forthcoming book, An African American and Latinx History of the United States will be published by Beacon Press in January, 2018 as part of its Revisioning American History series. An audio book will be published, and there are plans for a Spanish-language translation as well as a children’s version of the book.

He is the recipient of numerous book awards including the Lillian Smith Book Prize awarded by the Southern Regional Council & the Harry T. and Harriett V. Moore Book Prize bestowed by the Florida Historical Society and the Florida Institute of Technology. He is currently finishing a synthesis of the Jim Crow South with his former dissertation advisor William H. Chafe titled: Behind the Veil: African Americans in the Age of Segregation, 1895-1965 with William H. Chafe.

Paul has published essays in a broad array of publications including Latino Studies, The Oral History Review, Truthout, Against the Current, Southern Exposure, the Florida Historical Quarterly, and McClatchy News Services. He writes frequently for the popular press about African American and Latina/o histories and politics.

Prof. Ortíz received his Ph.D. in history from Duke University in 2000. He earned his Bachelor's degree from the Evergreen State College in 1990 in history and political economy after transferring from Olympic Community College. He taught in the Department of Community Studies at UC-Santa Cruz from 2001 to 2008 where he earned the Faculty Community Service of the Year Award in 2008 and the Excellence in Teaching Award by the UC-Santa Cruz Academic Senate.

He is currently the faculty adviser for UF chapter of the Dream Defenders, Students for a Democratic Society, the Venezuelan Students Association & CHISPAS. He was awarded the 2013 César E. Chávez Action and Commitment Award, by the Florida Education Association, AFL-CIO.

He is first vice president of the United Faculty of Florida’s University of Florida union chapter.

Military Service

Paul Ortiz is a third-generation US military veteran. Paul served in the United States Army from 1982 to 1986 with the 82nd Airborne Division and 7th Special Forces Group in Latin America where he was a radio operator and instructor for mobile training teams. He received the US Armed Forces’ Humanitarian Service Medal for meritorious action in the wake of the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz stratovolcano in Tolima, Colombia in November, 1985. He attained the rank of sergeant E-5, and received an honorable discharge in November, 1986.

He is an active member of Veterans for Peace, Gainesville, Florida, Branch 14

Laura Richardson
Language Arts/ Social Studies Teacher, Pine Hollow Middle School

Laura was born in Lilburn, GA (close to the Atlanta area) and lived there up until college. She attended Wingate University (near Charlotte, NC) to play college soccer and cheer for the basketball team. Upon graduating in 2007, she moved to Raleigh, NC. For the first 4.5 years of her teaching career, she worked at a small school in Granville County. During this time, she also obtained a Masters in Reading from ECU. In December 2011, she joined a year-round school, Durant Road, and worked there up until June 2016. In July 2016, Laura started her journey as a Pine Hollow Pilot and is still working there currently as an ELA/ SS Teacher in the 8th grade.
From Laura:
Similar to my colleague, Ms. Ziller, I've always been very close to my family. My great-grandmother Van Leer did a lot of research on the Van Leer family (my maiden name) and so there's a website that documents our family lineage all the way back to the 1400's. I've learned that our family descends from Germananic heritage, that I am a Daughter of the American Revolution, I'm related to Daniel Boone (an American explorer), and that my great-grandfather was President of Georgia Tech in Atlanta. My father made a large donation of family ancestry pieces to GA Tech a few years ago, and the university currently houses many of the primary documents and photographs about our family. In the future, I hope to continue to learn more and more about both my father's side of the family (the Van Leers) and my mom's side of the family (the Halyburtons).

When:  Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Time:    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Cost:    FREE

Where: Nash Hall at Church on Morgan

108 S. Blount St

Raleigh, NC 27601