Monday, February 06, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Leander Singleton Gilliam, Knights of Pythias

This is an article that my cousin sent me on my Great Grand Uncle Leander S. Gilliam.  Leander was mistaken for white and during his life in Worcester, MA he and his families identified with the white population even though they knew they were of African descent.  

It is so important not to allow race and ethnicity keep you from your family research.  Our families are made up of many multi-cultural backgrounds.  The way someone looks, does not determine their DNA.

Racism, Segregation and Passing, has kept us from embracing our selves.  We need to begin to look beyond the skin and look into the character of a person.

Race Gleanings
Freeman Newspaper
October 14, 1905

At Washington D.C. and other cities that have a large Negro population a recent decision of Charles E. Shiveley of Richmond, Ind., supreme chancelor of the Knights of Pythias is causing much comment.

Leander S. Gilliam, a Negro, who is so light of complexion that few people are able to detect his African blood, joined Freedom Lodge, Knights of Pythias, of Worcester, Mass.  Gilliam was such a good fellow that Freedom Lodge refused to drop him from its rolls, even after the fact of his surreptitious advent into the lodge were known.  Charges against the lodge were preferred by K. Warner Kelso, and now, under a decision of Mr. Shiveley, unless the lodge drops Gilliam, it may lose its charter.

Leander Singleton Gilliam
Great Grand Uncle

The Singleton name is the surname of the Slave Master my family belonged to.  My Great Great Grandmother, it was told me was a child of her Slave Master.  I am still in the stages of proving this, but it is very clear that my Gilliam's were of African and European descent.    I hope to uncover more of this information so that our families can have a coming together.  It is time for us to embrace our histories and heal and forgive the past.


  1. That last paragraph extremely well said. Great post!

  2. They were working the "one drop rule." All the best with your research.