AAHGS History

To serve as a source for people to learn more about the heritage of African American people of Surry County,
North Carolina and surrounding areas
To Serve as a means of sharing current event in the community
To offer the opportunity for others to share stories, pictures, documents, suggestions and feedback to AAHGS.
To promote the effort of AAGHS to inspire others to research family and community history
To share books and article references pertaining to history and genealogy
To promote support for the work of AAHGS of Surry County
To invite and encourage membership support
A group of people interested in the history of African American life in Surry County gathered in the meeting room of the Mount Airy Library in 1999. The meeting was prompted after the Regional Museum of Mount Airy sponsored a program that featured aspects of African American life in the area. Interest grew and the African American Historical and Genealogical Society of Surry County was formally organized In 2000. The monthly meetings were held in different parts of Surry County, ie Pilot Mountain, Elkin, and Mount Airy. The regular meetings are held in Mount Airy today. The organization was granted the non-profit status under section 501c3) in 2002. The original board officers consisted of the following persons:

Evelyn S. Thompson, PhD, Chairperson
Lucy N. Taylor, Vice Chairperson
Sonya Dodd, Secretary
Winnie Merritt, Assistant Secretary
Emma J. Tucker, Treasurer
Alice Brim, Assistant Treasurer
Reverend Kathy Dobson, Chaplain

The present board officers are as follows:

Evelyn S. Thompson, PhD, President
Lucy N. Taylor, Vice President/Assistant Secretary
Eunice Jessup, Secretary
Alice Jessup, Treasurer
Marie Ceaser, Assistant Treasurer/corresponding Secretary

Members participate in events, programs, and community activities that are sponsored by other organization: Greensboro, North Carolina AAHGS programs, Yadkin County Historical Society, Surry County Historical Society, NAACP, J.J. Jones Alumni Association, Inc., and attended an annual meeting of the national organization of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.

AAHGS has hosted Kwanzaa for five years, sponsored golf tournaments as fund raisers, and held annual membership meetings. The first activity of the organization was the urgent effort to interview and video tape the oldest members of the community. This served the immediate mission of the organization to capture oral history since there is so little written history. That activity resulted in the collections of 27 interviews. Visiting homes and seeing old pictures brought our attention the many family pictures that might be lost as generations pass on, so, our activity turned to gathering pictures and oral history about each picture, thus, the beginning of the book, "Around Surry County" published by Arcadia in 2005. We will continue collecting history pertaining to older generations with attention to life of younger generations.

The book has seven chapters that begin with comments written by members of AAHGS. Pictures date back to the1800s and spans from slavery to the freedom fighter of 1940s and ends with men and women who fought in the military to preserve the freedom of Americans. The tells the unfortunate experience of families as well as some harmonious living between slave owners black children and white children. The book is about faith, hope, strength, and determination of the older generation to make a better life for their children.