In the picture to the right, Charlie A. Newcomer, V.P. General, Southern Atlantic District, SAR, (on the left) congratulates Lt. Cmdr. Michael N. Henderson, USN, Ret., President, Button Gwinnett Chapter SAR. You can double-click on the small image to view a larger picture.
I wrote last June (at http://goo.gl/71e76) about the first African American in Georgia to be inducted into National Society Sons of the American Revolution. Now that person has been named President of his local chapter.
The following announcement was written by the Georgia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution:
On December 8, 2011, the Button Gwinnett Chapter of the Georgia Society, National Society Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) installed Michael Nolden Henderson as its President for 2012. Henderson is the first African American elected as president of any chapter in the 90-year history of the Georgia Society SAR.
In 2010, Henderson, a retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander, became the first African American in Georgia inducted into the Georgia SAR. Entrance into the society is gained by tracing one's ancestry to a patriot of the American Revolution. Through two decades of genealogy research, Henderson discovered a Frenchman name Mathieu Devaux, who served in the Louisiana militia under Spanish Governor General Bernardo de Galvez. Devaux, who never married, had a relationship with, and helped secure the freedom, of a former slave named Agnes. The two had seven children together, all of whom were born free prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
The story of Devaux and Agnes was the focus of a segment on the nationally televised PBS program, History Detectives in 2010. Henderson was featured in the segment, titled "The Galvez Papers," as he searched for the authenticity of Galvez's signature on the manumission document of Agnes, Henderson's fourth generation great-grandmother.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana and graduate of Xavier University, Henderson first learned of the SAR after hearing of the induction into the Society of Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., famed genealogy guru, Harvard University professor, and host of the popular television series, African American Lives and Faces of America. When Gates learned of Henderson's pursuit of SAR membership, he sent Henderson a letter of congratulations and support.
Since becoming a member of the SAR, Henderson has given numerous presentations to genealogy groups, including the Genealogical Research Society of New Orleans, Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society in Atlanta, The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Algiers (Louisiana) Historical Society, and the Creole Heritage Center in Louisiana. His research has been displayed at the Louisville International Airport and at the National Archives and Records Administration in Atlanta.
About the SAR
The Georgia Society Sons of the American Revolution exists to perpetuate the people and events of the American Revolution, promote patriotism, and preserve the ideals of freedom. The Society has 29 member chapters and over 1,400 individual members within the state. It conducts scholarship and recognition programs for high school and elementary school students, for ROTC and JROTC cadets, and for Eagle Scouts. The Society also present medals of recognition to public safety officials, performs volunteer work with veterans, and conducts Revolutionary War grave dedications. The Chapters proudly recognize deserving schools, businesses, and organizations with flag certificates for their proper and prominent display of the American flag. The Society is an active participant in historic battle site observances and other patriotic programs.
The Button Gwinnett Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution is named for Button Gwinnett, an English-born American political leader who, as a representative of Georgia to the Continental Congress, was the second of the signatories on the United States Declaration of Independence. He was also, briefly, the provisional president of Georgia in 1777. Gwinnett County is named for him.
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