Saturday, March 10, 2007

LiveBlogging (sorta) The Sacramento African-American Family History Seminar

I'm at the LDS Church at Marconi Boulevard and Eastern Avenue in Arden-Arcade, Sacramento County, California, where today is the Sacramento African-American Family History Seminar. This particular church is the location of the Sacramento Regional Family History Center. Today's seminar is sponsored by the California Black Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, Sacramento City Councilmembers Lauren Hammond and Bonnie Pannell, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I didn't really hear much about this seminar apart from one mention in the Sacramento Bee. I was surprised when I arrived a few minutes ago to learn that most of the participants had pre-registered! I wouldn't have known how or where to do that. Oh, well, they've got room for me (and plenty more apparently) and I'm here. It looks like from the nametags lined up on the registration table that there are about a hundred or so participants. So far, haven't seen anybody I know.

We're in the chapel awaiting the start of the seminar. Looking through the syllabus, I see that there are four sessions scheduled with four classes each in the morning and three classes each in the afternoon. The Family History Center, not usually open on Saturdays, will be open "all day," so says one of the LDS volunteers.

I've been wondering if the city council members will show up; as of 8:45 a.m., no sign of them.

Chatted with an LDS volunteer and his wife who have the same name as an architect who served with me on the planning council in the 1990s. Although it is an unusual name, and they live near him, they don't know him. The husband says that when he retired from teaching a few years ago, he and the wife went to Kenya and spent 18 months there. "They are very intelligent people there," he says, "so you should be very proud of your heritage." He smiles and strikes me with the piece of paper he has in his hand.

So now it starts with a welcome from the LDS director of public affairs. He is warm and the crowd responds likewise. Now we're going to sing Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Well, that was OK, but the "congregation" left the LDS organist behind!

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