Born in Arkansas during World War II and growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Charles began researching his personal genealogy in December, 1990. Not having the extensive family oral history possessed by Alex Haley, Charles, nevertheless, became motivated to begin tracing his roots after reading a book written by a woman who had traced her roots back into the 1700s in North Carolina. Dorothy Spruill Redford was motivated by Alex Haley’s “Roots” and ultimately organized a one-day Reunion of the descendants of slaves of The Somerset Plantation and 3,000 people came. Her book, “The Somerset Homecoming” provided the motivation for Charles to believe that he could trace his ancestors back into the slavery era. The following December, he began his quest to walk on the land where each of his slave ancestors lived at the outbreak of the Civil War.
His efforts have led him to discover African American ancestors in the Cherokee Tribe, and African American slave ancestors in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. As a result of his personal research and the knowledge he’s gained in the process, he has conducted monthly workshops on Cherokee genealogy and African American genealogy at the Family History Library in Los Angeles for more than fifteen years. In addition, he has been a featured speaker on various aspects of African American and Native American genealogical and historical research at several genealogical and historical societies in Southern California including the U.S. National Archives at Laguna-Niguel.
He has a degree in Engineering from UCLA, and when not researching his family tree, he is an independent management consultant.
He has a daughter, three grandsons and has been married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara, for over forty-five years.