Black Family Reunions: Finding the Rest of Me
by Dr. Ione D. Vargus

"Everyone has a family history. It is within our families that we come to understand who we are and where we belong."

As interests in genealogy and family history have grown over the past few decades, there are unique challenges that face the black American community. Taken from their families and homelands in the era of slavery, many African Americans lack the historical family ties that other racial groups may enjoy. This wound stings twice as hard, given the important role of the family in traditional African cultures. In this book, the black family reunion is examined at every angle: their history, their importance, and what features they often share with one another. After outlining the drive behind starting a family reunion and what to do at it, the author spends several chapters advising the reader on how to use the reunion format to lift the entire family, creating a tradition that will endure for generations to come.

The author’s perspective on this matter is invaluable as she is the founder of the Family Reunion Institute at Temple University. Her decades of study in the field and her ties to several black families with long-running family reunion traditions allow her to bring insight into what practices work and what benefits these families have felt as a result of starting and maintaining these gatherings. Whether the reader is a long-time reunion runner looking for new ways to spruce up an annual get-together or just beginning to consider bringing the entire family together from all parts of the country, this book proves a valuable resource that unites family units that have grown apart despite being more connected now than ever. Academic yet practical, this is an insightful tool and an invaluable read that sheds light on the importance of the family dynamic and how to keep it central in life.

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