Roberta Ridley to discuss African American pioneers in Fort Wayne

| January 31, 2014

Roberta Ridley

FORT WAYNE—Roberta Ridley is scheduled to deliver the February Mather Lecture at Fort Wayne’s History Center on Sunday, Feb. 2, speaking on “African American Pioneers of Fort Wayne: Paving the Way for Change.” The lecture is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at the museum, located at 302 East Berry St., and is free and open to the public.

Ridley is active in the African American Genealogical Society of Fort Wayne, founded in 2010, and serves as the organization’s chair. She is a Fort Wayne native and an employee of the Allen County Public Library.

Ridley is described as “a passionate researcher who believes genealogy to be good psychological and social medicine for our families and communities. Roberta believes that honoring the ancestors through every facet of the genealogy story is a necessity.”

She is a steering committee member and part of the program team for “It Is Well with My Soul”, an organization established to develop programming to unlearn internalized racism. As a member of the Allen County Genealogical Society, her primary focus in workshops has been a “genealogy state of mind” for the necessity of knowing and understanding one’s self, family, and community history.

Ridley has published a number of articles about African American genealogy in local and national publications and was a contributing writer for the Frost Illustrated series “What, why of African American Genealogy,” published in 2011.

In addition to the Mather lecture series, the History Center has available education resources via its blog “History Center Notes and Queries” and virtual exhibits. Both can be accessed from the organization’s home page at The publication “Old Fort News” provides information for those wishing to know more about our community as they explore the museum and other historical sites in the city and county. The History Center’s Facebook page also is a resource for local history information.

For more information, contact the History Center at (260) 426-2882 or visit the website at

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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