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North Texas woman discovers inspiring family history tied to Juneteenth

North Texas woman discovers inspiring family history tied to Juneteenth
North Texas woman discovers inspiring family history tied to Juneteenth 02:10

NORTH TEXAS — Though Juneteenth is a day to celebrate all slaves being freed, for many it is a time to remember the impacts of slavery on our country. 

It tore apart families, causing many African Americans to grow up confused about their origins and family history. 

"This is my mom, and this is my cousin," Jacqueline Fort said, pointing to old photographs.

Fort lives in North Texas and has always been curious about her ancestors, and their roots.

"My mom always said it is important to know your history."


As Fort and her sisters delved into their family origin story over the past several years, they found pieces of their past they never knew. 

Their research led them to believe a woman named Mary Humphries, born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1805, was their great-great-great grandmother. 

Old articles they've found report Humphries was auctioned as a slave and brought to Tatum, Texas in 1836, where she lived until she was freed on Juneteenth in 1865, and long after.

"She built a house and a church there," Fort said.


Family lore holds that Humphries lived to be 125 years old, had six children, and now has hundreds of descendants. 

"It makes me feel joyous because I can sit and tell someone a story about where I came from," Fort said.

In recent years, Fort has connected with other relatives of Mary Humphries in North Texas. Billy Montgomery of Desoto is her distant cousin and has spent years gathering evidence of Mary's life.  

This weekend, they will host their first-ever Humphries family reunion in honor of Juneteenth and their rich family history. 

Fort emphasized the significance.

"Some people want to celebrate because it's a holiday. I want to celebrate because it was a life lived. It's good to see where you come from. If you can see where they came from and look forward, it gives you hope. If she can do it, I can do it," Fort said.

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