Today we’d like to introduce you to Pamela Bailey.
Pamela, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I firmly believe that our greatest successes in life are achieved when we work with a passion and a purpose. Looking as far back as my childhood in South Carolina, I realize that I have always been preparing to do what I am doing now in Dallas, storytelling across media. I created Blue Rose Media Group to tell the important stories of people of color who have contributed greatly to our country and the world, like many of the people in my own ancestral family, whose narratives were negated and ignored by scholars and history books for centuries. Since I am a writer and a storyteller, Blue Rose Media Group is a natural fit for me.
I was raised in the same region of South Carolina where my ancestors had been enslaved since the 1700s. In fact, my mother’s grandfather, Daniel H DeWitt, was born into slavery in 1861. My parents were diligent about teaching their four children about our history through both storytelling and music. We were captivated by the stories of our ancestors, who were skilled artists and musicians, successful entrepreneurs during Jim Crow, soldiers in the World Wars, and founders of a Freedmen’s settlement in South Carolina.
Consequently, I grew up with a strong sense of self-worth, but by the time I’d reached my senior year of high school, I had lost all interest in history. I thought that history was boring! Throughout my formative education, I had never been taught about the accomplishments of black or brown people or their many contributions to American history. The only exceptions were Crispus Attucks, a black man who was the first person killed during the Boston Massacre that started the Revolutionary War and a paragraph or two about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many years later, I decided to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in nonfiction creative writing so I could tell the stories that I wanted to read.
After relocating to Dallas from the Carolinas, I became an adjunct professor at a local university where I taught world literature. When teaching my students about American literature, I was intentional about including the works of people of color. I shared the tradition of oral storytelling from those cultures, like the coastal Gullah Geechee communities from the seacoast islands, located along the southeastern region of the country. My students loved it and wanted to learn more. That sparked the idea to create products that make negated history, literature, and art of people of color available to the public through creative storytelling across multiple media.
Has it been a smooth road?
This is incredibly rewarding work, and even when I’ve hit a bump in the road, I am not discouraged in the least. My first projects are The Big Family Search descendants’ reunification project and podcast that began after I took a DNA test. I was amazed at the large number of people that I was biologically connected to on the genealogy website, although I only knew a handful of them. My own biological family is spread from one coast to the other as a result of the forced migration, local and interstate, of approximately 2.5 million American-born enslaved people during the antebellum era. Texas plays a huge part in that history, with many east coast planters refugeeing to the state to maintain their wealth and hold on to their bondspeople since Texas was the last frontier for chattel slavery.
The creation and sustainability of some of my projects, which require me to travel, are largely funded by individual donors, angel funders, and grantors. They see the value of my work in advancing racial healing and transformation through the telling of truthful narratives based on the experiences of those who endured slavery and their descendants, who passed down important history for generations. Just as I was gearing up to travel this past spring to fundraise, conduct research, and film, coronavirus brought the whole world, and subsequently my travel, to a halt.
Please tell us about Blue Rose Media Group.
Blue Rose Media Group is a company with a mission to promote racial healing, racial equity, and social justice through the telling of truthful and transformative stories of people of color. We currently have The Big Family Search Podcast, and we are securing funding for a documentary project. Our goal is to educate the public to help shift long-held beliefs that are based on false ideologies created and spread during slavery and Jim Crow, about race, that continues to be perpetuated to this day.
What sets us apart from other companies is our commitment to underserved communities that have been deeply affected by systemic racism. We seek to include underserved communities in public discourse regarding historical issues that have had generational effects on their communities. That is also what we are most proud of too.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Dallas is a world-class multicultural city. It has all of the elements needed to attract new entrepreneurs, including a diverse workforce, nationally ranked colleges and universities, public transportation, entertainment, and a substantial fine arts community.
While I feel incredibly fortunate to live and work in the DFW area, there is always room for improvement in every community. Dallas has many historically significant black and brown communities where families have lived and thrived for many generations. I’d like to see Dallas invest in those communities to the extent that they do in other local communities with respect to environmental safety, food security, business revitalization, infrastructure, and homeownership programs. I believe that honoring the historical significance of communities and improving them for the people who currently live in them or newcomers who desire to live alongside the people who have established these culturally rich communities should be a priority above gentrification. Gentrification often erases important Dallas history that I find inspirational to my work, and it forces families out of the communities they love and have been stewards of for many generations.
- Address: 6116 North Central Expressway
Dallas TX 75206
- Website: bigfamilysearch.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pamela Bailey, Megan Dishaw, Sharon Matlock, Jevaughn McKenzie