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CAAGRI Announces DNA Links Man with His African Relatives; Tennessee Man to Meet His African Relatives in Fredericksburg, Virginia

African Chief to atone for US slavery as he reunites with distant relative.

Fredericksburg, VA, August 03, 2008 --( The Center for African American Genealogical Research, Inc. (CAAGRI) announced today that results of DNA testing conducted last October in Princes Town, Ghana have returned a positive match between the town’s Chief Nana Ndama Kundumuah IV and African American man in Memphis, Tennessee.

In May 2006, at the request of a local news station in Memphis, Tennessee, Howard L. Robertson, Jr. submitted his DNA samples for analysis. For almost two years his results sat in a database, with thousands of others, longing for a match with a distant relative. In March of 2008, a CAAGRI representative contacted Robertson to inform him that his mtDNA results matched that of the Chief of Princes Town, Ghana. According to Robertson the results were far more than he could have ever imagined, “This is incredible. I don’t even know how to put it into words. I‘m shocked.“ CAAGRI Communications Director, Greg M. Russell explained that the organization wanted to take DNA to the next level by helping to build comparative databases so that reunions such as Robertson’s and Kundumuah’s would be more common than not: “We wanted to encourage African descended Americans to participate in this process. If we could start linking families here to families there, perhaps we could begin to fill in all of those blanks that the legacy of slavery omitted.” Russell continued, “Also, the challenges of meeting basic human needs like access to clean drinking water, might better be resolved if we could make personal connections between the continents. Chances are, you won‘t let your family continue drinking contaminated water if you knew, conclusively, that they are a part of your family.“

Robertson, a Principal and CEO of Trust Marketing & Communications will meet his distant relative this fall when a delegation from Princes Town travels to Fredericksburg as a part of its reciprocal visit to its sister city. Chief Kundumuah IV is expected to perform an atonement and reconciliation ceremony for Robertson who will then accompany the delegation back to Ghana for a traditional Homecoming celebration with the town of 5,000.

Atonement and reconciliation rituals are often performed in Africa but never before has an Africa Chief performed one in the United States followed by the symbolic gesture of taking a descendant back “home.” “This is historic beyond proportions” said Russell, “there aren't many have had this opportunity so we are very proud that CAAGRI is leading the way.”

CAAGRI and the Fredericksburg Princes Town Sister City Association have launched a joint fundraising campaign to help defray the costs of the Princes Town delegation. To contribute, please contact CAAGRI @ 540.785.9925 or email: or Jarvis Bailey

About The Center for African American Genealogical Research, Inc. (CAAGRI)
Founded in 2004, The Center for African American Genealogical Research, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides free genealogical data to the community at no cost. The only organization of its kind, CAAGRI’s specialized services provides a location for African Americans to conduct in-depth genealogical research, free computer training, mentoring programs for at risk youth and low-moderate income families and organizes special projects that include historical preservation efforts.

Contact Information
Greg Russell

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