Fashion Stylist | Creative Type | Blogger
I’m C. Rae White and this blog is an eclectic mix of my various interests and creativity. I’ve been a fashion fanatic since childhood and started runway modeling, coordinating outfits and fashion shows as a teenager. I’ve worked with a modeling agency, been a fashion stylist and a personal shopper. I currently enjoy creating fashion sets and product collections at Polyvore, check out my fashion posts here. I’m a creative who loves various types of art and jewelry making, check out my color palettes and patterns at COLOURlovers and my art related posts here. I began blogging in 2005 on MSN Spaces as an outlet for creative and thoughtful self-expression. My initial blog content featured technology innovation, fashion and beauty trends and interesting people, places and things. I’ve been blogging with WordPress.com since October of 2010 and my content largely remains the same.
I’m a proud 6th generation Detroiter. My maternal Binga ancestors settled in Detroit in the early 1840’s. I’m a Detroit Snob, I Love My City. I’m cognizant of the longstanding issues plaguing my beloved hometown and I’m hurt and saddened by the ruin porn (photography) and pervasive negativity across the Internet regarding Detroit. My purpose is to highlight the positive, restorative, innovative and fun things happening around town. Check out my Detroit category here.
I am African/Af-Ra-Kem, Indigenous to America, and Western European. My African ancestors primarily come from Ivory Coast/Ghana and Cameroon/Congo, with traces in Nigeria, Senegal and Benin/Togo.
I’m a descendant of the Underground Railroad. My maternal Binga ancestors escaped slavery from Newport (now Covington), Campbell County, Kentucky in 1836 (Africa, Virginia, Kentucky, Amherstburg OT, Chatham/Kent OT and other parts of Canada, Detroit, Saginaw, Howell, Pontiac and other parts of Michigan, St. Paul & Minneapolis MN, Cincinnati OH, Chicago IL, Harlem NY and more). My Binga ancestors were most likely enslaved in Virginia for several generations and later offspring were sold or taken into Kentucky sometime during the mid to late 1780’s. I am aware of two plantation owners who held my ancestors, a Mr. Bucknell (not substantiated) and Gen. James Taylor. My maternal 3rd great grandfather, William W. Binga, was born a slave in Greenupsburg, Greenup County, Kentucky in 1817, within a pretty large family group. My cousin Anthony Binga Sr. born about 1817 was an abolitionist, an underground railroad missionary until slavery ended and was dubbed, “The Walking Preacher.” He founded the Amherstburg First Baptist Church, built in 1848-1849 and later established the Amherstburg Regular Missionary Baptist Association (ARMBA).
My paternal great grandfather George Henry White, was also born in Greenupsburg, Greenup County, Kentucky in 1855 and was likely a mulatto slave. During the 1850’s, there were slaveholders by the surname White listed in Greenupsburg, Kentucky. His mother’s name is listed as Emily on his death certificate and his father is unknown. George shows up in the 1870 Census as a 15-year-old house servant living in Greenupburg, Kentucky with the family of Edwin J. Hockaday, a white farmer. He continued to work as a domestic servant and laborer throughout his life.
My Indigenous Roots
My original indigenous paternal ancestors were Egypto-Nubian (Manding, Mandinka, Mandingo) Africans who sailed to the lower tip of South America in about 6000 BCE, later settling in southern Mexico at La Venta between 1400 & 1200 BCE. My direct ancestors lived at Lake Chapala, Mexico in Olmecca land or the place of the Xi People. Much later, the Mayans encroached upon their land and they were pressed into the Mayan army. When the Aztecs conquered the Mayans my ancestors fought along with them, subsequently rising through the Aztec ranks. Later, my indigenous ancestors left Mexico on a northeastern migration in 992 AD, as Lenne Lenape (Original Man), led by the first tribal chief Little Frog.
They settled into their first permanent village at Crystal River Florida and are known as the Mound Builders. Our direct ancestors established the Etowah and Stone Eagle mound building groups of Georgia. The ancestors split ranks and a group traveled to the east coast northward into the salt marshes of Maryland and onward to Pennsylvania establishing several villages, where the Chalgotha alliance was made. My direct ancestors traveled from Georgia across the Appalachian mountains into Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio. They encountered the Talegwa (the Hopewell mound builders) with whom they merged creating the Fort Ancient culture. My direct ancestors are of the Kispoko or Kispotaka Sept, from which all Shawnee chiefs emerged. They lived along the Packawillany plans of Ohio, west to the Mad River. By 1575, at least 5 bands of Shawnee including the Kispoko, Piqua, Chalgotha (originally the Ainu), Makujay and the Hathawekila) lived in Ohio, stretching into Kentucky. My indigenous DNA comes through my paternal grandmother Grace Viola Elam – White and could originate from both sides of her parentage, in her mother Ella Marie Thompson and father Rev. Thomas M. Elam.
My European Roots
My Western European roots are primarily in France, Ireland, and Scandinavia, with traces in the Iberian Peninsula and Great Britain. I don’t know much about my European roots, but I suspect some of it comes from chattel slavery rape, the washing out of Shawnee natives by the French and likely multi-racial mixing of my maternal Cotillier branch, as the Cutillo surname is on the Melungeon list.
A few of my maternal cousins conducted research on the Courtillier, Cotillier, Cotellier, Costels, Costles, Cotillia, Cotillian, Catillier, Catilla, Catillia, Catillion, Cutillo, Crtillow and Kerteller, etc… branch of our family (Paris France, Africa, Portugal, Quebec CA, Jamestown, Bears Element Creek, Gloucester and Richmond VA, New York, Detroit MI, Saginaw and other parts of MI, Chicago IL, Ohio, Altadena and other parts of CA). Some of our family surnames are Berry, Epps, Combs, Francis, Stewart and more.
I supposedly have Cotillier French and Afro/Portuguese ancestors, through an Edward Catillier and spouse Anna (a Negro of Portugal), but that information hasn’t been substantiated. The Courtillier family tree indicates that the Virginia roots of the Cotillier family begin with the supposed family of Abram Cotillier b. 1652 and Katherine Jewell b. 1639, my research shows otherwise. In Colonial Jamestown, VA court records Katherine Jewell is documented as having 3 illegitimate mulatto children called by the surname Cattilla, with an unknown black man. The children include Mary b. 1669, William b. 1670 and Matthew (supposedly my direct ancestor) b. 1672. Katherine Jewell of York County, VA had her first mulatto child at about 30 years of age and Abram Catillier would have been a 17-year-old teenager in 1669. Lastly, I haven’t found an Abram Catilla with the 1652 birth date on the Virtual Jamestown or Free African Americans websites. The only York County free black men I found were three taxable male Cutillo’s, during the 1780’s. The family tree information, regarding the beginnings of the Cotillier’s, doesn’t seem to have any basis in reality.
My maternal 3rd great grandfather, William W. Binga married an orphaned Irish girl named Adelphia Seymour. She later claimed to have found her birth family, declaring she was a member of the New York State Powers family. I suspect that William married a white woman (in 1844) to secure the freedom of his children, due to his fugitive slave status (1836 until 1865) living and openly conducting business in Detroit, MI as a barbershop proprietor and property owner. I believe William may have met Adelphia during the course of his profession as barbers were doctors of sorts during the early days; I suspect Adelphia made her medicinal and surgical skills available to barbers in her immediate area. She was known as a herbalist and doctoress throughout her life; and while in Detroit, MI was referred to as the “Jewish Doctor.”
Some of our family surnames are Binga, Cotillier, Robinson, McCowan, Winchester, Dandridge, Ford, Smith, Scott, Palmer, Dismond, Atkins, Hughes, Smith, Nash, Bowles, Williams, Coleman, White, Marshall, Margolin, Wright and more. I’ve written articles about a few family members and the history connected to those individuals. I continue to be fascinated and amazed by my Binga ancestors, check out my Family Research category here.
Thanks for stopping by!