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Perceiving the Dream

I Wish I Knew How It Feels To Be Free . . . 

"What Happens to a Dream Deferred?

Does it just  rot  like a raisin in the sun . . ."

Kentucky African American Ancestors
Lift Every Voice . . .

Grandfather and I talked of many things, but very little about family history. After his passing in the nursing home, I found the deeds to the family cemetary plots. Inside the enevelope: Inside the USCT Army Discharge of Great-grandfather Ned Hopson.
Years later while surfing the Internet, I  read an article datelining a  USCT Reenactor's Celebration in Washington, DC.
One hundred thirty years later for a dream deferred. The National Park  Service's year long celebration  would conclude with the dedication of the African American Civil War Monument, July 17, 1998. In addition, a search bank of 235,000 names indexing each Colored soldier and White officer who served during the Civil War.
"The light of my dream
Rose until it touched
the sky,
The Wall.
My Dream"
Langston Hughes
My search indexed the Hopson surname 24 times: Ned Hopson and Lewis Hopson were listed as members of the 8th KY USCT 
Artillery H Regiment, in different companies. Each had enrolled and was discharged on the same date. This data bank initiated my
research of our family history. 

"First feel, then read, or read then feel,
Then stand or fall where you already are. 
I  posted on a Kentucky message board asking for information
related to a pair of former slaves. I received an answer from the g-grandfather of William H. Hopson, Happy Grier, providing excerpts and a copy of the will. The will probated in Will Book G, p 448, Christian County, January 1833 -- included the names, Lewis and Ned. There was a nine years age difference between the two Neds. But fortunately, the 1850 and 1860 slave schedules indicate a possible match. The 1900 Federal Census provided 
a surprise: Our maternal  Great- grandmother Mrs. Milieu Askew, 
b 1830.

MouseOver. Click.
The National Archives and Records Administration, Kentucky Historical Society,  the Interior and War Departments provided a
wealth of helpful data, greatly enhancing background information about the earliest family history  i.e.,  the affidavit of James Hill, a lifelong friend, who fought alongside in the same regiment, and was at his deathbed, died January 4, 1896. A great number of affidavits were submitted supporting the family matriarch's petition for disability pension war related injuries, often supply personal information.
"Think of yourself and and all the other selves
 . . .Look closely into
all things close to you
. . .
Great-grandfather End Hopson died January 4, 1896, interested the confirmation of his dream: I wonder how it feels to be free!
And now, nine generations later, and still growing, each generation is described as a dream scene. The Dream Keepers have kept the faith . They are keeping the Dream alive.
"Make some muscle in your head,
But use the muscle in your heart." --
Young Soul, Amiri Baraka
Great-grandmother Naomi  Ann Hopson died July 12, 1924, age 71. I,  proud to be a grandson, was born March 22, 1924. I would hope the she was aware of me, then, too. Some things are priceless: A discharge spanned our time barrier revealing our proud heritage.