~ Sylvy Fulenwider Magness Roberts ~
Matriarch of Our Family
Seven Sisters - Daughters of Sylvy:
Male Patriarchs - Male Slaves on the Plantation:
Sylvia, Delilah, Priscilla, Kitty Bird, Fannie, Betsy, Martha
Emmanuel, Big George, Isaac, Big Bob, Aaron, Simpson, Little Bob
The seven daughters of Sylvy and the male slaves on the plantation formed strong family units that comprised the roots of our amazing family. In the year 1906, three descendents of those early unions - Wesley Mauney, John Wesley Roberts, and Eli Borders Roberts organized the first family reunion. Descendents of those early founders have gathered to strengthen those bonds each year continously since then.
Growing Participation from Year to Year
The photo on the right was taken in 1977 at the 72nd reunion of the families. It captures a reinactment of a gathering of the original seven sisters and male slaves on the Roberts plantation. The scene was staged to give younger members of the family a glimpse of what life was like on the plantation when the family's roots were just beginning to be nourished.
The photo on the left was taken in 2017 at the 112th reunion of the families. It depicts the enormous crowd gathered on Sunday morning to worship, enjoy a wonderful meal together, and listen to an inspiring keynote address. Reunion gatherings have grown in size from enough to fill the front lawn of Wesley and Ida Roberts' home to enough to fill two ballrooms of the host hotel in Charlotte.
(Excerpted from the 2020 reunion newsletter by Reunion President Graham Watt.)
". . . We are blessed to come from a strong people. Our ancestors withstood the trauma of kidnapping and transport from the homeland; the brutality of slavery and attendant family separations; Jim Crow; the ongoing struggle for civil rights; and the challenges of surviving and thriving in today's world. Yet, here we are! In the words of Maya Angelou, "…Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave, I rise I rise I rise." We are fortunate to have family members who continue to seek more detailed answers about our ancestors and their experiences. I am pleased to tell you that their research efforts have yielded more information about our history, and we look forward to sharing their findings with you at the 115th Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs, and Related Families Reunion in August 2020.
Reunion Planning Committee Operations
If you are curious about how the reunion planning and execution gets done year after year, and want to become a part of the Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs & Related Families Family Reunion Planning Committee, this section will help. The reunion committee is always eager to welcome fresh perspectives and young talents to its already energetic, experienced, and resourceful group of organizers. We expect to face many new challenges in the coming years, and hope that your contributions will make the outcome of our efforts to face those challenges even more successful and rewarding.
Committee meetings are held on the second or third Saturday of each month – except the months of September and December. A schedule of actual dates and locations is created during the October meeting. Meetings have traditionally been held at the home of committee members who volunteeer to host them on a rotating basis. However, the recent social distancing and other restrictions placed on municipalities because of COVID-19 have made it necessary to meet online rather in person. Regular meetings began being scheduled on Zoom Video Conferencing in April of this year.
2018 Reunion Committee