The Search For FreeJoe: tells the story of how I began to research the life of Joseph H. "FreeJoe" Harris, my great,great, great grandfather.
This journey back through time that began in Chicago, Illinois in August of 1984, has taken me to Goochland County, Virginia, Kalamazoo, Michigan and changed my permanant address from Chicago to Memphis, Tennessee.
The documents you see in this book came from the Courthouses and archives of Goochland County, Virginia and Memphis, Tennessee. They were used as a frame of reference in order to write my biographical novel, FreeJoe: A Story of Faith, Love and Perseverance.
Many of the pictures in this book are of family members and people who played a role in the life of Joseph H. "FreeJoe" Harris and make up the characters in FreeJoe: A story of Faith, Love and Perseverance.
This book will show you the unusual accomplishments of Joseph H. "FreeJoe" Harris during the period of slavery and beyond. Perhaps these revelations will assist you in doing your family research.
THIS IS THE BOOK THAT ALEX HALEY NEVER WROTE.
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Earnest Edward Lacey is the great, great, great grandson of Joseph H. "FreeJoe" Harris. Lacey began to research his family history 14 years ago while a resident of Chicago.
Lacey was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee where he attended Melrose High School. He graduated from John Marshall High School, Loop Junior College ( Now Harold Washington Junior College) and Chicago State University in Chicago. He earned an MBA from Governors State University in University Park, Illinois.
He taught business and general educational courses at Prairie State Community College in Chicago Heights, Illinois, Olive-Harvey Community College and Robert Morris College in Chicago, Illinois and LeMoyne College in Memphis, Tennessee. He is Director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at the University of Memphis. He serves as a business consultant counseling existing and start-up businesses. He is host of two television talk shows, Small Business Review and Ancestors.
Mr. Lacey is the author of the biographical novel, FreeJoe: A Story of Faith, Love and Perserverance. He is also curator of the traveling exhibit, FreeJoe: The Renaissance Man, 1796-1875. He is a member of Gray's Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Eads, Tennessee.He was appointed by Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout to serve on the Shelby County Historical Commission.
Lacey lives in Memphis with his wife of 36 years, Clara Elaine Briscoe-Lacey. He has two adult daughters, Kimberly V. Lacey and Nicole C. Lacey.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Chapter One, The Trip to Memphis.
" Before I forget to ask, can you please tell me why you didn't come down here last month for the family reunion?" Suvella asked with a stern look on her face. "Reunion! What reunion? I didn't know anything about a reunion," I said surprised. "We sent out notices and I'm sure we sent one to Bernice," Suvella said. " Well.......I never got one and mother never said anything to me about a reunion," I said. " You really missed out on a nice affair. They gave out information on the family and I bet you didn't know that you have a great, great..........wait a minute, let me count. Two greats for me.........and three for you. You have a great, great, great grandfather that was never a slave," Survella said.
"Oh yeah! What was his name?", I asked eagerly. "FreeJoe Harris," Suvella replied calmly. "FreeJoe Harris!", I replied excitely. " That's right. FreeJoe Harris, " Ethyl said smiling. " And he was never a slave," Suvella repeated.
"Wait a minute. That doesn't make any sense. Where in the world would he get a name like that?" I asked stunned. " I don't know. That's what they told us," Suvella said. " His real name was Joseph Harris and they called him FreeJoe," Ethyl interjected. " That still doesn't make sense. That name FreeJoe implies that he was locked up somewhere. If you were always free, why would you use an adjective like free?," I asked. " Well, he's buried in Gray's Creek Cemetery," Suvella said. "I'm going to the cemetery early tomorrow morning. Do you know where he's buried?', I asked not quite believing this story. " I have no idea. I was told that he's buried somewhere in the cemetery. That's all I know, " Suvella said.
For a moment, no one said anything.
" I think I know where he's buried," I murmured. " What! Now aren't you something! A few minutes ago you never heard of the man, didn't know where he was buried, and now all of a sudden you do," Suvella said in a surprised voice. " I'll be at Gray's Creek at 8:30 a.m. and I'll show you his final resting place," I said walking toward the car. " I'll be there. I want to see this," Suvella said giving everyone a farewell hug.
We said goodnight. Suvella and Ethyl went into the house as I backed the car out of the driveway.
"Do you really think you know where he's buried?", Elaine asked. " I know. Don't ask me how I know, but I know," I said.
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Book Description Freejoe Publications. Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G0966907604I5N00