About the Woozy


If you’ve begun in earnest to investigate the truth of the African-American experience, you do not have to reinvent the wheel. The Woozy can direct you to timelines, online resources, books, dvd’s, movies, policies, personalities and groundbreaking social, political & legal events that chronicle the comprehensive, African-American experience.


In 2005 I was hired by the City and County of SF as the founding Director of the IMD-Alternatives Program. The program was funded by a 2-year State of California grant to fund projects that focused on community placement of IMD (Institution for Mental Disease) residents. S.F. was one of 2 counties awarded the grant and chose to focus their program on transitioning adult African-American males from locked IMD’s to the community. S.F. chose to focus on this population due to findings from a study (2002, McGirr and SenGupta ) titled, “Identifying factors that contribute to longer term community tenure for L-Facility, discharged clients.” The study found that although African-Americans were only 7% of the SF population, they composed 23% of the SF Adult mental health system, 28% of SF IMD residents, their stay in IMD’s were 20% longer (152 days average) and African-American males were much more likely to return to a locked setting 6 months post-discharge.

The program was independently reviewed at the end of it’s first year and was found to have saved the City and County of SF over $450,000 in reduced costs over IMD placement.


In 2005, shortly after the initial 2-year run of the Alternatives program, I started TheWoozy in order to: 1; Hold onto all of the information we gathered in the program. 2; Add to and expand the information in subsequent years. 3; Allow the information to be accessed by all those who were searching for similar information. In short, the hope of the woozy is that it can serve as a one-stop nigresence website.


Part of my quest in creating the woozy was to make sense of my own life, race and family within the context of the historical African-American experience. Below, I’ve put down some of the bits and pieces about our family’s experience in America in terms of racial, cultural and historical intersections.


A full blooded native creek (Muscogee) Indian woman named, "JONAH" (1780):

The earliest known relative in my family is a woman by the name of Jonah, a full-blooded Muscogee (Creek Indian) who was born in approximately (1780). Jonah lived on Cedar Knob, in a traditional Muscogee hut. Cedar Knob is now the area that serves as the Tennessee State Capitol.

Photo below, James Edward Oglethorpe conversing with Native Muscogee Indians. Oglethorpe was a London born military leader, reformer and founder of the city of Savannah and colony of Georgia in 1732.


Jonah had a daughter with an unknown man. Jonah's daughter later married an "unknown" explorer whose name is lost to history. They had 5 daughters, Martha, Fannie, Joanna, Susannah and my direct relative, Ann McGavock (1814). Such unions were not uncommon in the early backwoods where traders and natives met. From GeorgiaEncyclopedia.org

“…many British men (most of them Indian traders) formed expedient unions with Creek females.”


Tennessee was first inhabited by Paleo-Indians nearly 12,000 years ago. Several distinct cultural chiefdoms were the cultural predecessors of the Muscogee. The first recorded European contact were three expeditions led by Spanish explorers from 1539-1567, the first of which was Hernando De Soto. In the 1760s, anglo long hunters explored much of Tennessee, and the first permanent European settlers began arriving late in the decade. As European colonists spread into the area, the native populations were forcibly displaced to the south and west, including all Muscogee and Yuchi peoples.

Picture of Hernando De Soto


You can also read more about De Soto’s March of Destruction across the southeast.

Desoto’s March of Destruction(pdf)


Almost all of what is known about our early family history has been compiled by my late-cousin, Emma Bragg in her pamphlet, Scrapbook: Some Family Reminiscences of a Native Nashville Septaugenarian

Emma also wrote a pamphlet on Susannah McGavock Carter available on Amazon.com

Jonah’s grand-daughter, and my direct descendant, Ann McGavock was free born in 1814 as their mother was a free born Native American. The law at the time was that the status of the child is based on the condition of the mother (slave or free). McGavock was not her original name, it was a slave name given to her when the surviving members of her family fell into slavery through the betrayal of Randall McGavock. Ann and her explorer father went to New Orleans they fell under unfortunate circumstances which resulted in the family being plunged into slavery. Prior to their journey to New Orleans, as was required by law, Ann’s father left his remaining children in the care of a white man, Randall McGavock. While in New Orleans, Ann and her father both contracted cholera. Ann survived, but her father died. Cholera was a regular occurrence in New Orleans, as slaughterhouses were located a short distance upstream of the city’s water intake pipe on the Mississippi and frequently polluted the water supply. The slaughter-houses were finally relocated for good after the 1873 decision in the famous Supreme Court slaughter-house cases. This case is considered a pivotal test of the privileges or immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment had yet to occur.

Returning to Ann’s story, she eventually recovered from cholera and returned to her sisters. Randall McGavock, finding himself with several young, dark-skinned parentless children ,claimed them as his own slaves. Randal McGavock had migrated from Virginia to Nashville in 1795, established a successful career, graduated from Harvard University, operated a plantation, was a Civil War officer, served as mayor of Nashville (1858-59) and authored a book about his travels in Europe, Middle East and Africa titled, A Tennessean Abroad. Randal McGavock resided in Williamson County and built the Carnton mansion in 1826.

Col. McGavock’s book, A Teneessean Abroad can be found via a google ebook search.

The Randal McGavock Biographical Timeline at Tennessee State Library (pdf) Carnton Plantation

Randal McGavock gave Ann’s sister, Susannah to his daughter, Elizabeth on January 2, 1840, when she married General William Giles Harding.

Susanna became Harding's house servant. She married a Belle Meade enslaved man named, Isaac ("Big Ike") Carter, and had four children: "Little Ike," Joe, Porter (1861-1949), and Willie. Susanna was one of Harding's 140 slaves at the 3500-acre Belle Meade plantation, just west of Nashville.

Susanna sent two letters (June 3 and August 25, 1862) when her master, W. G. Harding, was in prison at Fort Mackinac Island, Michigan, for supporting the Confederate rebellion against the United States during the Civil War. The letters were remarkable, considering that slaves were not allowed to read or write or dictate letters. Her letters richly described plantation life near Nashville during the Union army occupation. The letters told of Belle Meade plantation, its slaves and crops, and the family's efforts to survive the war. Her letters have been quoted in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly (1974) and in a number of books.

After the war, Harding, released from prison, opposed the establishment of a Freedmen's Bureau school on his land. From 1864 to 1877 most of the former slaves abandoned Belle Meade plantation, where a wage system replaced slavery. Only five original slave families lived at Belle Meade by 1877, including Susannah, who remained until her death in 1899.

Susannah McGavock Carter

General Williams Giles Harding

The Belle Meade Plantation website has a photo of Susannah McGavock Carter in the "Af-Am" section.

Susannah's photo is #2 of 6

The Belle Meade Plantation, "The Queen of Tennessee Plantations"

The Harding Family also owned The Two Rivers Mansion a short distance from Belle Meade. The link to The Two Rivers Mansion is below, as well as a photo.

The Two Rivers Mansion



In 1828 at the age of 14, Ann McGavock (1814-1895) married John Richardson, who was born a slave and later bought himself free after having chosen his name and convincing the legislature to accept it. John Richardson became a barber at the Commercial Hotel (now the Morris Memorial Building on 4th and Charlotte) and wrote passes for the underground railroad.

Ann McGavock Richardson and John Richardson (1828) had 2 daughters, Carrie and my direct descendant, (great-great grandmother) Julia Richardson (1851). Carrie Richardson (1851-1934) and Julie were reared in a house on Gay Street, near Summer Street (Fifth Avenue, North). Their mother later sold the property and moved the family home to Grant and Fourteenth Avenue, North.

A bit more is known about my great-great-grandmother’s sister Carrie Richardson White who is pictured below with her husband, Charles Henry White (1845-1928), the son of a free mulatto, Yessie Duke and a white Mexican war veteran and Judge, Alfred White.


Whereas Julia was married young at 14, Carrie Richardson White continued her education. Carrie's early education was received in “dames" schools. One school was taught by a white woman at the corner of Fifth and Jefferson streets. Another school was taught by a free black preacher named Daniel Wadkins, who conducted classes in Nashville between 1837 and 1857. The black schools were closed as a result of the December, 1856, Nashville race riot where white workers attacked free and semi-independent blacks. The schools remained closed until 1862 when Union forces occupied the city. During the Civil War and the Union occupation, like so many of the town's other free Negroes, Carrie continued her formal education. Carrie enrolled at Fisk University soon after it opened in 1866 and taught at Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and at Trinity School in Nashville. She would have graduated from the Fisk college course, except that she got married to Charles Henry White in 1868. Charles attended Baptist College (Roger Williams University).

Carrie became an apprentice under Mercy Duke Gordon, a seamstress and the aunt of Charles H. White. Before marriage, Charles was a barber and later taught school in Franklin. After his marriage, he worked as a shipping clerk on Nashville's Public Square and sold dairy products from his farm. The Whites bought a forty-five-acre farm in 1875. Located five miles from Nashville on Brick Church Pike, the farm had horses, mules, ponies, guineas, turkeys, peafowl, chickens, hogs, and cows. There was an abundance of fruit trees and children.

Carrie Richardson White and her husband had ten children: Alfred, James, Randall, Carrie, Charles, George (1877-1973), Maude, Felix, Annie, Gordon, and Howard. Only eight children grew to adulthood; Alfred died as a baby, and Howard passed at the age of seven years. Carrie's children enjoyed various careers, including doctor, teacher, principal, post office worker, housewife, fireman, undertaker, and transfer worker. Several of the children attended Fisk University's model and preparatory grades. James and Annie received their bachelor's degrees from Fisk in 1894 and 1906, respectively, and daughter Carrie received her normal school certificate in 1893.

Carrie's two college graduates excelled in their careers. James received the M. D. degree from Meharry Medical College in 1897. He became a major in the Medical Corps during World War One and was awarded the Croix de Guerre from the French government. Annie received certificates in French at the Royal Victoria College of McGill University in Montreal and at the University of Potier in southwestern France.

Carrie Richardson White died in Nashville in 1934. Charles White preceded her in 1928.

Carrie Richardson White

Meanwhilte, my great-great-grandmother, Julia Richardson Howard (1866) married Dick Howard and had 7 children, Anna, Susie, Felicia, John, Richard, Howard, Mattie, and my direct descendant, Charles "Dick" Holmes Howard.

Pictured below, LEFT: Chalres Holmes Howard in his later years, holding a young Charles Ellis. MIDDLE: A young Charles Holmes Howard standing next to his aunt, Julia Richardson. RIGHT: a young Anna Lou Caffery Vaughn


Charles Holmes Howard (1866-1937) married my great-grandmother, Anna Lou Caffery Vaughn (1868) and they had 4 children, Marjorie (1904-1966), Julia, Helen (1910-1995) and my grandmother Anna Lou Howard (1905-2000). Dick Howard was a shoemaker who raised rhode island red chickens but was perhaps best known in the Nashville area as a respected trainer of hunting dogs. The family initially lived outside of town on a small farm, but relocated to the former “Work Mansion” directly across the street from Fisk University and next door to the famous Jubilee Hall. It’s unclear how the family acquired the Work Mansion, but there are several connections between my grandmother’s family, and Fisk University, which John Wesley Work, Jr. was also deeply affiliated with.

John Wesley Work, Jr., was the son of a slave and father of John Wesley Work III, a well known African-American Composer and ethnographer of negro spirituals who taught at Fisk University, and made signifiant contributions to The Library of Congress. John Wesley Work, Jr. also was a composer and arranger for The Fisk Jubilee Singers, of whom, my cousin, Georgia Gordon Taylor was an original member.

John Wesley Work III

Documentation of Negro Folks Songs recorded by John Wesley Work Jr., and donated to The Library of Congress

Fisk Jubilee Recordings made by John Wesley Work Jr. from the Discography of American Historical Recordings

History of Fisk University

Jubilee Hall on the Fisk University Campus

Pearl High School

PBS site on Pearl High School

but Anna attended Fisk after graduating from Nashville’s famous Pearl High School.

below Pearl High School, Class of 1923


below Anna Lou Howard Eaves, graduation photo enlarged

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<p>Anna Lou Howard’s mother, <strong>Anna Lou Caffery Vaughn </strong> was born approximately (1868-1926) and was the product of her mother and the White man who owned them. Anna Lou Caffery Vaughn’s mother owned her own cabin (pictured below) and despite the fact that she had no education, she raised a very respectable household of children.</p>

<p>below <strong>Anna Lou Caffery Vaughn</strong>, her aunt, her mother, her brother and her sister.</p>
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Anna Lou “Toots” Howard attended Fisk University where she met my grandfather Eugene Thomas Eaves a handsome, fun loving athlete and thespian from Chicago, IL. They married and and had 2 children, Anna Maude, who passed a year after birth, and my mother Helen (1937). Anna Lou Howard went on the New York School of Social Work (later, Columbia University) and retired as the acting supervisor for the Philadelphia School District for truancy. Eugene Thomas Eaves worked as an inspector for the Department of Agriculture.

below, my great-grandmother and grandmother, Anna Lou Caffery Vaughn Howard and Anna Lou Howard Eaves


The founding of Fisk University

Eugene Eaves’ mother and father were Maude Blackwell, an african-american woman from the northern Illinois/Canadian region of northern America. Somewhere along the line, one of her ancestors were from Polynesia/Melanesia. She was married to Henry Thomas Eaves, a Pullman Porter who fled Kentucky due to harassment surrounding his light complexion. Henry Thomas saved up enough money in tips as a porter prior to the depression that he was able to purchase an apartment building in Chicago.



Photo of the Phillips High School 1925 Heavyweight basketball team

My Grandfather (2nd from the right above) and grandmother both attended Fisk University in Nashville. Prior to Fisk, my grandfather graduated from Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1925 where he was a member of the "Heavyweight" (Varsity) basketball team, and graduated with several of the original members of the Harlem Globetrotters.

The website above has a good story about the link between Wendell Phillips and the Harlem Globetrotters and includes a picture of the 1925 Wendell Phillips Basketball team furnished by my mother. The following 2 paragraphs are based on the article:

The Phillips heavyweight team of 1924 received extensive coverage by the Chicago Defender, which felt that the team was destined to win the city championship. Three players on the team--Tommy Brookins, Lester Johnson, and Walter "Toots" Wright-eventually became members of the Harlem Globetrotters. The three, along with teammate Eugene Eaves, after graduation in 1925 formed a semi-pro team, the Savoy Big Five. The team toured the Midwest, and eventually it was taken over by Abe Saperstein and renamed the " Harlem Globetrotters."

In 1925 the Chicago Defender sponsored the Armstrong High (D.C.) team to come to Chicago to play the Wendell Phillips Heavyweights. Although Phillips had a lost a couple of league tilts, the strength of the Phillips team relative to that of its Eastern rivals was evident in its manhandling Armstrong 25-15. The game drew 4,500 fans. The Fifty-five box seats at the Eighth Regiment Armory were filled with the "elite of Chicago's social and business world." Phillips brought in its 54-piece band as well as its booster orchestra. The Defender devoted a lot of real estate on two pages of its broadsheet to cover the game, and in a throwback to the Thanksgiving Games college football coverage of the 1890s, a separate article on what members of society came to watch the game. The contest was a huge event in the black community, but the mainstream newspapers at most only minimally mentioned the contest.



Here's some information on a distant relative (through the White family), Georgia Gordon Taylor, one of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Website on The Jubilee Singers

Website on Georgia Gordon Taylor

Website on Georgia Gordon Taylor’s Parents

Georgia Gordon Taylor entered Fisk soon after its opening in 1868 and remained as a student in the Literary Department, taking music lessons from George L. White until she became a Jubilee Singer in 1872, touring the U.S. and later England in 1873 where the singers appeared before Queen Victoria. Georgia returned to the U.S. but not to continue her studies at Fisk even though she was awarded a posthumously a diploma in 1978, along with all the other original Fisk Jubilee Singers.

A native Nashvillian, Georgia was born in 1855 to a free mulatto mother an a slave father who was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. her maternal grandmother was a white woman of Scotch-Irish descent who had run away from her well-to-do North Carolina home with her male slave, twenty years her senior, to establish a home in Sumner County, Georgia!

Georgia Gordon Taylor is buried under a magnificently beautiful monument at Greenwood Cemetary in Nashville with a plague giving evidence that she was an original Fisk Jubilee Singer. Below, Georgia Gordon Taylor’s parents, Mrs. Dr. Preston Taylor (below) and Elder Preston Taylor (below)


Georgia's experiences as a Jubilee Singer are well documented in the special collection archives of the Fisk University Library.



Our relative Sterling Brown a well-known Af-Am poet who taught at Fisk.


The history of natives and blacks is very complex.

For blacks that have native ancestry it is oftentimes hard, if not impossible to prove their lineage as their unions were not recorded in the way that european unions are recorded. Complicating this issue, at a later time many blacks who were included on the list of tribal rolls were forcibly purged from them. The relationship between blacks and natives is further complicated by the fact that some natives owned black slaves and some blacks owned native slaves. The result of these complications is that cultural and social ties that could and should bind us, have been lost, forgotten, or denied to the detriment of both races.


The trail of tears, legalized by the Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson in order to take hold of valuable property and the finding of gold on their native Georgian lands. . This horrendous march claimed many native and black lives. Black slaves that were owned by natives on the march perished as did natives who were forced on the trail by White men.

My ancestors, members of the Creek tribe, were removed from their lands through this act.

My family ancestry includes African, Blackfoot, Cherokee, Creek, Cree, Mohawk and White ancestry.







I am indebted to my cousin Emma Bragg, Mr. Robert Pruter of Chicago, IL., my grandmother, Anna (Gaga), Baby Brother and Cousin Charles for information about our family history.

-Damon Eaves