As the first genealogical society in the State of Michigan dedicated to the research and preservation of our African-American history, we take pride in our heritage and our contributions to the world and especially this country. We share this knowledge with enthusiasm, so that we may take our rightful place in history.
The Society honors the legacy of Fred Hart Williams (1882-1961), a pioneer in collecting and interpreting historical materials about African Americans. Throughout his employment as a senior tax clerk for the City of Detroit, he also wrote and reported for three newspapers: The Detroit Tribune, The Michigan Chronicle, and the Detroit edition of The Pittsburgh Courier.
Historians and writers all over the world are indebted to him for the materials he donated to establish the highly regarded E. Azalia Hackley Collection which honors African Americans in the performing arts. The collection is stored at the Detroit Public Library. The descendant of a family who came to Detroit on the Underground Railroad, Williams served his community as a journalist, author, historian and patron of the arts. Williams’ personal family history papers, donated to the Burton Historical Collection, DPL, form an important source of African American History.
Today, the FHWGS publishes a newsletter twice a year, and sponsors educational programs and workshops, which explain research techniques most useful to persons of African American ancestry. Members are encouraged to share their experiences, exchange research finds at meetings, and to deposit their compiled family histories with the Society. The Society also collects, preserves and makes available to the public, manuscripts, documents, genealogical records and historical materials. Fieldtrips are taken throughout the year to examine historical sites, and collections of family history records.
The Society was the first African American Genealogical Society in the State of Michigan