...celebrating 31 years!



Carter G. Woodson and 100+ African American Inventors & Inventions 

Copyright 2014 - 2021  Family Reunion Institute. All rights reserved.


does not cancel out

All Lives Matter.

In fact, if ALL Lives Mattered

there'd be no need for



Black History Month Quotes2 



Our reunion chapter has experienced difficulty collecting chapter dues last year. We recognize families have been impacted financially with layoffs, reduced work hours, etc. We’re hosting the 2022 reunion and the dues provide the seed money needed for the reunion. Should we ask those that have missed dues payments to catch them up?

 by Sylvia Ford-George

February is the month where history, freedom, love and family come together to educate, cultivate, develop and grow.

In February we proudly remember the shoulders of those named and unnamed abolitionists and civil rights activists whose bravery and fortitude progressed the movement of Black people forward. There is no question that without them there would be no National Freedom Day honoring the signing of the amendment that abolished slavery. No signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. No Carter G. Woodson conceiving Negro History Week to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass (February 12th and 14th respectively). No expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month. And no President Ford urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Although the shortest month of the year, February is one of the most significant in that it carries the responsibility and burden of enlightening the world about the life, experiences and achievements of African American’s. Responsibility based on the need to proclaim a designated time to raise awareness of African American accomplishments—even though those contributions are lived out every single day of the year. A burden because even as the contributions are laid bare, African Americans are still misunderstood, mistreated, disrespected, caused harm (and even death) purely based on the color of their skin.

This Black History Month it’s hard not to give thought to the unfinished business of Carter G. Woodson, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the fact that our country continues to fall short on it’s promise that “all men” have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We’ve come a long way, yet there’s so much more to be done. Time for all of us—every color, every creed, every religion, every race, every age, every generation—to be better, love more, hate less, and realize that we all deserve to live our lives without fear.

In February our hearts are full of love, peace and family as we celebrate Valentine’s Day, National Weddings Month, Random Acts of Kindness Week, American Heart Month, Bake for the Family Month, National Parent Leadership Month, Relationship Wellness Month, Random Acts of Kindess Day, and so much more. Check out our list of fun things for the family to celebrate, enjoy and explore in Family Time. Read some powerful Black Lives Matter quotes from people we all know in Worth Repeating. Show some family love on Valentine’s Day with info from the Reunion Tip of the Month. And, visit our Black History Month Spotlight for info on Carter G. Woodson, Black History Quotes, 100+ African American Inventors and Inventions, Blacks in Space, and The 1619 Project.

This February we hope you stay safe, warm, and well. Take care of yourself, your family, and your family reunions, and encourage those around you to do the same. Stay Covid safe by wearing masks, washing your hands, staying socially distanced, and getting the vaccine. And if you’re not already doing so, make a commitment to seize the opportunity to learn about and honor the accomplishments of Black Americans—all year long. Our world will be better for it.

- Family Time
- Reunion Tip of the Month
- Worth Repeating
- Black History Month Spotlight
- Doug’s Valentine Day Poem

- Sticky Reunion Situation

- Practical Reunion Planning
- ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)

February  photos courtesy of Yahoo images.


There are many, many, many notable and esteemed African Americans who helped change the world, and are revered and spoken of again, and again, and again during Black History Month. For every notable person, there are countless hidden, unsung heroes. Folks who walked, marched, protested, supported, worked behind the scenes, and contributed to the success of luminaries. All of these folks—notable and not—had families. But not all of their stories are told, and that’s where practical reunion planning comes in.

Within each of our families are many unsung heroes. And if you’re looking for a good family project for your reunion, take on the task of sitting with elder family members, and digging deep into your family tree, to see what noteworthy history you can uncover. Then document your findings and share them with your family members, local newspapers, libraries, schools, etc.

Doug Harris, Family Reunion Institute Advisory Team Member wrote and published a book, "Raised by Giants" about his childhood hometown that is a “legitimate part of Black History”. He also wrote and published his mother's memoir and a book about his grandfather. All three books document Black History, as well as his love for family and the "village" that raised him. Additionally, Doug’s cousin and her BFF researched the cemetery where their grandparents are buried, and after 15 years have documented slavery in NJ, published a book, and were the subject of an article in NY Times Magazine and news coverage on NBC New York (see ICYMI below).

Family Reunion Institute founder, Dr. Ione Vargus’ family contributions are well-documented in her hometown of Medford, Massachusetts and beyond. For starters, she was Temple University’s first African American dean as well as the first female dean of the School of Social Work. Her father, Edward Dugger, founded the 372nd Infantry, an all-African American National Guard Unit, where he served as lieutenant colonel and commanding officer, earning him a place in Black High Society. He was the first African American appointed to the Medford Massachusetts City Planning Board, and the first to have a public park named after him. Her mother, Madeline was named Massachusetts Mother of the Year in 1952, the first black woman to hold that honor. Her sister, Madeleine Dugger Andrews, was the first African American elected to Medford’s School Committee and had a school named in her honor in 2000,  The Madeline Dugger Andrews Middle School. Her brother, Eddie Dugger, frequently referred to as a one-man track team during his college years, was said to have single handedly put Tufts University on the map. He was one of the first African American aeronautical engineers in the nation. The Dugger Memorial Auditorium at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where he worked thirty-three years, was named in his honor.

There is so much more that we have yet to learn, uncover and experience—especially when it comes to knowing the full effect of Black History and our families.  If you havent already started to uncover your family's story, “what are you waiting for?" Use your family reunion to get the relatives talking, planning, researching and documenting your contributions to Black History Month. And let’s do it all year long.

Before Black History Month comes to an end, let’s remember that there’s a lot we all can learn about Black History—not just during Black History Month, and not just in the history books—but within our own families.

Black History Month Quotes1 

We believe reunions have the power to nourish and strengthen families of all races and ethnicities. Reunions can encourage healthy extended family relationships, provide a sense of belonging, restore family pride, nurture and respect all generations, and impart wisdom, knowledge and a shared purpose. Our goal is to strengthen, inspire and support family reunion planning; share useful information and resources; and advocate for the teaching of family and reunion history, values and experiences.

Click here for purchase details!

For an autographed copy send an email to Bill Vargus at:  billvargus@gmail.com

February is full of history and history maker’s including Black History Month, National Women Inventors Month, National Freedom Day, Carter G. Woodson, Frederick Douglass, Abe Lincoln and George Washington. February is also the month of love, and it’s full of family and heart-filled celebrations and observances including Bake for Family Fun Month, American Heart Month, National Parent Leadership Month, National Wedding Month, Relationship Wellness Month, Random Acts of Kindness Week and Valentine’s Day. 


Valentine’s Day is for families—just as well as couples. Our children, widowed parents and grandparents, single aunts, uncles and cousins, etc. need to be able to share in the giving and receiving of love too—especially in the midst of the pandemic where there is a feeling of loss (of loved ones, family and friends; and/or connection with others). So on Valentine’s Day send messages of love and affection to family members to remind them how much they mean to us. Or, drop off a Valentine’s Day care package of a special meal, or candy, or flowers, etc.

It's Your Turn!

Our motto: “Family Reunions are More Than Just a Picnic”.

PLANNING A FAMILY REUNION?  Click below for tips.


Our 2020 reunion was canceled due to the coronavirus and continued safety concerns. My cousin who was chairing the reunion says they won’t reschedule hosting the reunion, and that they will pass the reunion on to the next city for 2021. We live in the next city and don’t think that’s fair. How can we resolve this without a family fight?


NEVER said ONLY Black Lives Matter

WE know ALL LIVES Matter

WE just need YOUR HELP with #blacklivesmatter

For Black Lives are in danger


Will Smith: “Racism is not getting worse, it’s getting filmed.”

Colin Kaepernick: “People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country. There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust. People aren’t being held accountable. And that’s something that needs to change.”

Oprah Winfrey: “As long as people can be judged by the color of their skin, the problem is not solved.”

George Clooney:  “The anger and the frustration we see playing out once again in our streets is just a reminder of how little we’ve grown as a country from our original sin of slavery. This is our pandemic. It infects all of us, and in 400 years we’ve yet to find a vaccine.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “George Floyd’s murder is not only an outrage. It is the latest manifestation of a system that callously devalues the lives of Black people. Our struggle is and always has been about justice — not justice on paper, but real justice in the real lives of real people.”

Nelson Mandela: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Michelle Obama: “… I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop. Right now it’s George, Breonna, and Ahmaud. Before that it was Eric, Sandra, and Michael. It just goes on, and on, and on. Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us—Black, white, everyone—no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets. I pray we all have the strength for that journey, just as I pray for the souls and the families of those who were taken from us.”

What is Love?

Love is a call shortly after midnight,
just to ask, “You get home all right?"
Love is support before, during and after
all of life’s crises and occasional disasters.
Love is secret jokes, and laughs from the belly.
Love is one of Auntie’s homemade rolls with jelly.
Love is poking fun with no offense taken,
and knowing no matter what, you’ll never be forsaken.
Love encourages you to do your best and pushes you along.
Love tells you you’re good and also warns you when you’re wrong.
Love let’s you know that you’re somebody; let’s you know you belong.
Love is a stream of memories that start in youth,
flow to the river of middle age, and become an ocean of truth.
Love embraces, enfolds, heals, defines.
Love is family. Thank you, God, for mine.

Douglas A. Harris