Family stories, oral histories, and story telling are an important part of the Clemmons Family Farm legacy. Our stories are a chapter in the rich history of African Americans, and span 150 years of the fascinating lives of the families of Jack and Lydia Clemmons. Our stories are also woven into the fabric of the history of other African-Americans in Vermont, which dates back to the 1700s- long before the Clemmons family moved to to the state.
These are the stories of Great Grandmother Margie, who ran away twice from a White family who "owned" her in Louisiana in the year 1903, long after Lincoln had proclaimed the end of slavery, and of Great Grandfather Jackson J. Clemmons, who moved from Martinique to North Carolina, where he founded the first African-American grade school.
These are the stories of the fun-loving, laughter-filled Grandpa Howard and Grandma Lucille who, as a teen aged married couple, left their crops in the field and ran off to an oil boom town in Arkansas in 1923. These are the stories of the Becks, who fled from Louisiana to California and changed their last name after a mob of White men, jealous of the farming family's financial success, burned their home to the ground.
These are the stories of the Monroes and Clemmonses who joined the Great Migration of the millions of African-American families who left the racism they experienced in the rural south and moved to the urban mid-West in search of better lives and greater economic opportunities. The stories of a hardworking welder, a talented seamstress, an entrepreneurial hat maker, and one of the first African-American women valedictorians in a mid-Western University.
Finally, these are the stories of Jack and Lydia Clemmons, whose family histories run full circle from life on a farm in a small rural community in the South, to life in the urban areas of the mid-West and California, and back to life on a farm in a small rural community-- this time in Vermont. Their careers and adventurous spirits also brought them to Africa, where they worked and traveled around most of the continent over a span of 20 years.