About AAHGS Memphis

AAHGS-Memphis is a chapter of both the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and PAAC - Preservation of African-American Cemeteries.

AAHGS, Inc is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. See http://www.aahgs.org for more information.

The Preservation of African American Cemeteries, Inc. was founded in 2003 by a group dedicated to preserving, restoring, and documenting African American cemeteries. Our goal is to be a leading organization among cemetery associations, preservation groups, cemetery care-takers, or the one individual, that is concerned with documenting and preserving their ancestral burial ground. It is the goal of PAAC to instruct and teach the humanities the valuable information necessary for the education and preparation of cemetery restoration, documentation and preservation. See http://www.paaccemeteries.com for more information.



Eunice Buffington
Vice President
Recording & Corresponding Secretary
Deja Henry
Lashonna Jackson
Immediate Past President
Teresa Hill Mays

Webmaster Alison Barnes

Our History

The Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society of Memphis, TN and the Mid-South began early in 2010 as a group of individuals who shared a common interest of and concern for creating and organizing an African-American genealogy group in Memphis. The Founder, Mr. Jack Hampton, had recently retired and moved to Memphis from Palos Heights, IL (Chicago). He had studied genealogy since the mid 1970’s and had a deep interest in understanding family history. He had been an active member of the African American Genealogical Society of Chicago and a member of the Centralia Genealogical Club. After arriving in Memphis, he quickly began to research genealogy organizations in the Memphis area. He joined the Tennessee Genealogical Society, attended meetings of the Olive Branch Genealogical Society but immediately recognized that there was no African American organization focused on genealogy in the Memphis area. Seeing a critical void, Mr. Hampton set out to start an organization in Memphis. In, 2010, he sought out other individuals including his wife, Dr. Nelvia Brady-Hampton, Cora Collins and Ella J. Davis. They began meeting together initially in the home of Jack Hampton. As the numbers increased, meetings were at the Benjamin Hooks Library, 3030 Poplar Ave. Memphis, TN and the group began recruiting people to start an African American Genealogical Club. The Club’s original Co-Founders were Jack Hampton, Dr. Nelvia Brady-Hampton, Cora Collins, Ella Josephine Davis, April Branch, Dorothy Exum, Mary Howse and Tinnie Batchelor. During this period, under the leadership of Jack Hampton, the group elected officers: President: April Branch; Vice President: Dorothy Exum, Secretary: Cora Collins, Archivist: Mary Howse and Treasurer: Tinnie Batchelor. In the fall of 2011, due to personal reasons, Dorothy Exum resigned as Vice President and Alison Barnes was elected as her replacement. Club Members met monthly.

The Club established rules of order including:

The purpose of the Club was:
• To respond to the need for an African American genealogy organization in Memphis
• To provide a forum for the study of genealogy
• To focus on the importance of African American Family History
• To research and document personal family histories
• To promote the study of African American Genealogical Study and Research

Since its formation, the Club has held numerous educational and training sessions, participated/partnered with other local genealogy/historical groups, visited historical sites in Memphis and surrounding areas, conducted genealogy workshops and seminars, hosted study groups, served the community through providing speakers and making presentations and began to expand membership. In 2011, the Club adopted the W.C. Handy House as a Community Service Project.

As meetings continued and progressed, the Club decided to seek a charter through the national Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc., in Washington, DC and submitted an application. Several members were already members of AAHGS and had attended the National Conferences in Little Rock, Arkansas and Greensboro, North Carolina.

By November 2012, the organization was tentatively chartered and in March 2013, the AAHGS National President, Tamela Tenpenny and members of the Little Rock, Arkansas AAHGS Chapter, presented the temporary charter. The group received its formal charter at the National AAHGS Conference in October 2013.