Angela Y. Walton-Raji, Author, Genealogist, Scholar
(For speaking engagements, see below)
Author, "Black Indian Genealogy Research. An Expanded Edition"
Genealogical & Historical Memberships:
AAHGS Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society Inc (Arkansas Chapter, & Baltimore Chapter)
Association of Professional Genealogists
Oklahoma Historical Society
Choctaw-Chickasaw Freedmen's Project
Oklahoma Genealogical Society
Poteau Valley Genealogical Society
PAAC- Preservation of African-American Cemeteries
* * * * *
Angela Y. Walton-Rajiís work in genealogy has made her widely accepted in the field. She was born in western Arkansas, and grew up on the Arkansas / Oklahoma border, in the city of Ft. Smith, Arkansas. She attended St. Louis University, where she obtained a degree in Romance Languages, and later earned a Master's Degree in Education from Antioch University. Being an avid genealogist, Ms. Walton has researched her family history since 1975. In 1991, she located her family records among those of the Choctaw Nation, confirming a relationship often spoken about from family oral history. With this discovery, came the sudden knowledge that her great grandparents were African slaves of Choctaw Indians, and that her Walton ancestors were among several thousand Africans who were enslaved by Native Americans, including those who migrated west on the Trail of Tears.
She has actively studied these records of the former "Black Indian" slaves, and their children who were eventually given citizenship in the Five Civilized Tribes--Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole Nations.
She has committed herself to sharing this information with the descendants of the Freedmen of Indian Territory--which is now Oklahoma. As a result, of her discovery of this chapter in her family's history and in America's history, she wrote the book Black Indian Genealogy Research: African American Ancestors Among the Five Civilized Tribes. The book serves as a guide to researching the history and lives of the 20,000 Freedmen of Indian Territory, who have been deleted from American history. Having a continued interest in the history of African Americans on the western frontier, her research on Oklahoma Black Indian history and genealogy was selected to be a part of the Year 2000, national family history project sponsored by the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) and The White House Millennium Council. This is a national effort to encourage Americans of all backgrounds to explore their family history. The project is called My History is America's History. The project was featured in Parade Magazine, and is included in the Family History Guidebook, produced by NEH.
In April of 2000, she presented a workshop at a landmark cross-cultural symposium on African-Native American culture and history at Dartmouth College. She is also included in the newly released video on "Black Indians an American Story" by Rich Heape Productions. She is a co-founder of the AfriGeneas online message board consisting of over 1200 daily online subscribers interested in African American genealogy.
She moderated the oldest continually running African American Genealogy chat as part of the Genealogy Forum on America On Line, till the forum ended in 2003. Ms. Walton-Raji is a regular in the AfriGeneas weekly chats, and she hosts the only Black Indian online chat, in the country, (on AfriGeneas.com) and is Secretary for AfriGeneas, also. She is a very well known speaker having been a presenter at the Annual AAHGS Conference. She is also the editor of an Arkansas Black History journal, "Freedomís Spirit" which was released in early 2001, and also now co-publishes, "Voices of Indian Territory" a scholarly journal focusing on Indian Territory history.
She has spoken nationally from New Hampshire to Seattle Washington, and has received a number of awards for her research. Her Civil War research has allowed her to participate in a number of institutes sponsored by the US Colored Troops Institute in Oneonta New York. She has recently assisted in documenting burials of Civil War soldiers in Western Arkansas, and has secured headstones honoring those soldiers. Their story is featured on www.arkansasfreedmen.com.
She is an alumnus of the National Institute of Genealogical Research, and continues to attend seminars and workshop to increase her skills and research methods.
Ms. Walton-Raji currently lives in Maryland, and works at the University of Maryland Baltimore County as the Director of Graduate School Recruitment. She has spoken nationally since publishing her journal and book, about African American genealogy, and African American history. Her home state of Arkansas and her adoptive home state of Oklahoma know her by name when she sets foot in their, respective, archives and libraries. She continues to research, travel and write about the untold stories of America's African-Native people, and black history on Americans' western frontier.