The John Donaldson Story
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This film will tell his story and restore his place in American history.
My Amazing Ancestors
The Binga Family
William W. Binga | 3rd Great Grandfather
- Born into slavery in Greenupsburg, Greenup, KY |1817 – 1890
- Escapes slavery from Newport, Campbell, Kentucky in 1836 with extended family and friends
- Fought along with his cousins under the leadership of Josiah Henson to protect Windsor, Ontario, CA in the Rebellion of 1837 & 38
- William settles in Detroit, MI in 1844, marries Adelphia Seymour-Powers and has a large family
- He works as a barber and property owner who builds two multi-unit row houses known as Binga Row. Read about it here
Some of the locations William W. Binga worked as a barber in Detroit, 1840’s & 50’s.
Binga Row tenement locations, William Binga’s last home in Detroit (Beaubien St. at Ohio), barbershop locations 1870’s – 80’s and slave plantation locations.
Moses William Binga – Son of William W. Binga & Adelphia Powers – 3rd Great Uncle
- Born free in Detroit, Wayne, MI 1851| Death Unknown
- Moses works as a barber and hostler (likely moving locomotives in and out of the roundhouse)
- Moses is an inventor who keeps a shed on St. Antoine Street in Detroit to work on mechanical projects
- He marries and relocates to Cincinnati, OH, having two daughters
- Moses invents street sprinkling apparatus that is patented on July 22, 1879
Martha Binga, Gordon, Winchester – Daughter of William W. Binga & Adelphia Powers – 3rd Great Aunt
- Born free in Detroit, Wayne, MI | 1856 – 1936
- She works as a tailoress/seamstress in Michigan and St. Paul, MN
- shortly after the death of her first husband, Martha marries John Randolph Winchester and the couple relocates to Chicago, IL
- Upon arrival in Chicago, John works as a janitor and Martha is an astrologer and fortune teller who publishes a monthly horoscope magazine and cookbook with tips for life and household management
- Martha and John establish a successful real estate brokerage firm and loan office
- Martha is the first African-American woman to establish an employment agency in Chicago, IL, and in 1909 assists 7,000 people in obtaining employment
Jesse Binga – Son of William W. Binga & Adelphia Powers – 3rd Great Uncle
- Born free in Detroit, Wayne, MI | 1865 – 1950
- Jesse assists his parents in their respective business ventures as a child and young adult, later working as a barber
- He drops out of high school and for two years studies constitutional law while working as a paralegal, with African-American attorney Thomas R. Crisup
- He travels the western territory between 1885 and 1893 as an itinerant barber, Pullman porter and real estate speculator.
- His parents, wife Frances Scott-Binga and son Bethune D. Binga join him in St. Paul, MN in the late 1880’s
- He settles in Chicago, IL in 1893, establishing a fancy fruit and vegetable business at 12th and Michigan Avenue, from which he operates a shoe shine stand and huckster wagon.
- The Binga’s divorce, Frances and Bethune return to her hometown Chatham Kent, Ontario, CA
- In the late 1890’s, Binga establishes the J. C. Binga & Co. realty enterprise
- By 1907, known as a defiant “block buster” Jesse Binga becomes a prosperous Chicago real estate broker offering rental units, real estate, loans, insurance, lease negotiation, property exchange and property management services
- After nearly a decade of dogged determination and controversial business dealings, Jesse Binga becomes a noted businessman who’s often referred to as a financier, capitalist and real estate mogul
- In 1908, he founds the first African-American owned bank in the northern United States (Jesse Binga Banker, Private Bank).
- In 1912, Jesse Binga marries wealthy socialite Ms. Eudora Johnson, the sister of John “Mushmouth” Johnson.
- Later, with financial help from his wife and obtaining a State charter he opens the Binga State Bank in 1921
- Jesse Binga builds the Binga State Bank and Binga Arcade buildings
Binga Private and State Banks:
Eudora Johnson, Johnson Family Home, Brother John “Mushmouth” Johnson & Mother Ellen Johnson.
Binga Real Estate, building construction and Associated Business Club & Exchange.
William H. Binga – Son of Joshua Binga & Lucia Benjamin – 1 Cousin 4X Removed
- Born in Detroit, MI | 1869 – 1950
- William is a phenomenal outfielder, adept at all defensive positions and a dependable batter
- His athletic skill and defensive performance capabilities provide him membership on several famous Negro League teams including Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis
- The Indianapolis Freeman refers to William H. Binga as, “the only third sacker (baseman) and surest hitter in the country”
- After signing with the Page Fence Giants, the Jackson Daily Citizen dubs Binga “the colored phenomenon of baseball”
Read the HOUR Magazine article about the Negro League Baseball Grave Marker Project, bestowing William H. Binga’s gravestone in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Cotillier Family
John Cotillier Jr. & William H. Cotillier – Sons of John Cotillier Sr. & Elizabeth Berry – 3rd Great Uncles
- John Jr. born a free Negro in Richmond, Henrico, VA | 1843 – 1915
- William born a free Negro in Pennsylvania | 1852 – 1889
- Arriving in Detroit, MI in 1865 John Jr. works as a painter and by 1870 he’s a cook on board a Detroit river boat
- During the 1880’s John Jr. and brother William H. Cotillier operate a restaurant, boarding house and barbershop across from the F & P M Rail Road Depot in Saginaw, MI
- In the 1880 Census, William H. Cotillier is listed at 403 Potter Street with his wife Mary Catherine, one servant, 2 barbers and 8 other boarders
The restaurant/boarding house is to the right of the large brick buildings across the street from the railroad yard.
Elizabeth Cotillier, Butler, Palmer – Daughter of Thomas B. Cotillier & Adelaide Binga – 2nd Great Aunt
- Elizabeth is born free in Detroit, Wayne, MI | 1863 – 1940
- She marries civil war veteran, cook and saloonist Charles A. Butler in 1889
- She works along with her husband serving food and drinks at 78 E. Fort Street in Detroit. Wayne, MI
- In 1890 they purchase a three story building at 63 Atwater East, operating a lodging house and restaurant (It is also their home)
- Charles dies in 1894 and Elizabeth sells the lodging house/restaurant to the owners of the Saloon next door. 63 Atwater E. becomes Union House.
- Sometime between 1895 & 1896, Elizabeth purchases another lodging house with Saloon at 221 Atwater East (It is also her home)
The 63 Atwater lodging house is to the right, just behind the larger Lawrence Hotel. The 221 Atwater Lodging house is across from the railroad yard.
James Charles Cotillier Sr. – Son of Thomas B. Cotillier & Adelaide Binga – 2nd Great Uncle
- Born in East Saginaw, Saginaw, MI | 1880 – 1946
- James worked as a day laborer, stock-man, salt packer, chef, machinist, locksmith, Insurance agent and real estate employee
- While living in Detroit, MI James writes the music and lyrics to the song “The Fighting Yankee Boys” and has it published on July 23, 1919
- In 1923, James marries Bessie Cantey in Chicago, IL and in 1928 their son James C. Cotillier Jr. is born
- James and Bessie operate a hardware store at 4451 South State Street in Chicago, IL
The Robinson Family
William Alfred Robinson – Son of Robert L. Robinson & Charlotte Binga – First Cousin 3X Removed
- Born in Saginaw, MI | 1870 – 1952
- He attends Saginaw public schools and graduates from the law school at Howard University
- For 21 years, William works with The Department of the Interior as a clerk for the United States Pension Office, while also practicing law
- He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia on July 31, 1893, at the age of 23. Ten years later, he is admitted to practice in the Court of Appeals (same place) on February 5, 1903
- William marries Harriet M. Gardner, also a lawyer, on April 4, 1904 in Washington, DC
- He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States of America on December 16, 1908
- In December of 1914, he travels to Chicago, IL to establish a second law office
- Later, William and Harriet operate law and real estate offices and later purchase a home at 2925 S. Wabash Ave. in Chicago, IL
- In 1919, he’s selected as part of a group of elite black Chicago professionals, for the incorporation and State charter of Binga Bank
- In 1921, he is elected to the board of directors of Binga State Bank
- He remains in Chicago for the rest of his life, having large property holdings and conducting a law practice
- At the time of his death, he is the oldest practicing African-American attorney in Chicago, IL
The video above is an edited and somewhat confusing version of the Binga Family self-emancipation/escape from slavery. Read the full story below:
The Binga Family Self-Emancipation/Slavery Escape
• Anthony Binga Sr. was born a slave in about 1817 on the Bucknel Plantation in Greenupsburg, Greenup County, Kentucky. Anthony’s immediate family included his father Daniel Binga Sr., mother and three children. His older brother’s name was Daniel Binga Jr. and his sister’s name was Hannah Binga (mother’s name unknown).
• Sometime in 1822, 5 year old Anthony, his mother and two siblings were sold to Gen. James Taylor Jr. owner of the Bellevue Plantation in Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky. Anthony recalled that he and his family were well treated by both masters, but that he always desired to be free.
• During the summer of 1836, Anthony and his brother Daniel Binga Jr. were sent to do business for General Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. Just outside of Louisville Daniel Jr. found a purse on the road containing $500 dollars. Over the next few months, during weekend family visits and camp meetings the Binga family and friend Horace Hawkins planned their escape.
• Mr. James Williams, an acquaintance of Daniel Binga Jr. living in Cincinnati, OH purchased provisions for the journey, including a team of horses, a wagon, weapons and a jug of whiskey.
• The group of 15 people escapes slavery: Daniel Binga Sr., wife and 3 children – 5, William W. Binga, an un-named cousin and their families – 7, Horace Hawkins and his sister – 2, and Wash Burgess -1
• In late September of 1836, the group obtained passes to attend a camp meeting, but instead embarked upon their escape from slavery. The group met a ferryman at the banks of the Ohio River who took them across to Cincinnati where the wagon team awaited. The first night they swiftly drove the wagon team 50 miles northeast to Springfield, Ohio. After watering the horses and foraging for food, they moved on to Columbus, Ohio where the horses gave out. They promptly purchased another wagon team from a Quaker farmer for ten dollars, moving on to Sandusky, Ohio. Their arrival at Sandusky had taken three days travel time.
• On the fourth day they boarded the steamboat Michigan, operated by Captain Willibur who took them to Toledo, Ohio where the steamboat ran aground. On the sixth day, the group transferred to the steamboat Phoebus soon arriving at the port of Amherstburg, Ontario to a crowd rejoicing as they disembarked to freedom.
The new Africa Collection
I had a lucid dream on the morning of 12/27/2017. I was in what seemed like a large hotel complex with a concert venue, in a big city. I attended the concert of a superstar performer and later a meet and greet where she signed autographs and spoke with her fans. I got the chance to sit and talk with her for a while; she was kind, attentive and even seemed interested in my life. Later, she excused herself to go change clothes and promised to return. I waited for what seemed like hours, and then left. It was morning when I drove my black SUV out of the parking garage into a large urban metropolis. I made an immediate right turn drove down a steep curved hill. I merged onto a ramp that looked like a highway entrance. As I continued down the road, I saw what looked like a canal ahead and quickly crossed over to the other side through a wide opening. Suddenly, a huge water surge engulfed my truck and it was pulled underwater. Extremely frightened, I still acted as if I was driving and the truck quickly floated to the surface. The dream ended.
A very strange aspect of this dream is that there was a comment dialogue, critique or one-sided conversation going on during its entirety. When I heard a comment, I argued my point and then the dream continued. The comments emanated from a snarky, but squeaky elf-like voice. While dreaming, I determined the snarky squeaky voice was a demon reporting on me to God, although I never heard another voice (or God speak) during the dream. The first comment was, “She’s a big baby!” Taken aback, I vehemently rebuked the voice. Arguing my case from birth to adulthood.
“I ranted about being born into trouble, betrayal, neglect, divorce and abuse by my father’s second wife and a cross-country move all by the age of 3. The loss of my beloved maternal grandmother when I was 22, who lovingly raised me from the age of 3 until 8, when my mother remarried. Shortly there after, the sudden loss of my mother, who tragically aspirated. In 1998, I suffered my sister’s tragic death due to a massive stroke after a year of taking care of her and running her business. I argued through a litany of the horrible things that have happen throughout a very difficult adulthood where I invested in myself to obtain a graduate degree. Once gainfully employed I conducted myself as an exemplary employee, but was almost immediately discriminated against, marginalized and sexually harassed, then fired when I filed an EEOC case. I lamented over several bouts of homelessness and how I’d lost everything from my childhood and everything I’d worked for; and how embarrassing, humiliating and emotionally demoralizing my adult life has been. I screamed, YOU DON’T KNOW ME! YOU DIDN’T LIVE THIS LIFE! YOU STOOD BY WATCHING WHEN I WAS DESTITUTE, CRYING IN DESPERATION PLEADING FOR HELP, GUIDANCE AND A MIRACLE! SO SHUT THE FUCK UP!”
Just before the dream ended, the demon squeaky-elf voice yelled, “She ain’t got no eyes.” Again, I strongly rebuked the critique.
“I sighted the longstanding record of my religious pursuits including my christian salvation, fervent worship, prayer, dedicated study, confessing the Word of God over myself, my circumstances and my life; and a 20 year practice of speaking in tongues. I shouted at the demon voice, “I AM THE ANOINTED OF GOD! I HAVE EYES TO SEE AND EARS TO HEAR! DEMON, YOU HAVE NO AUTHORITY OVER MY LIFE, FLEE AND GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM!”
I awakened frightened by the dream’s underwater trauma and upset over my argument with the demon voice. Those comments dredged up everything I’ve been working to let go of. I have released my angst and anger over the circumstances of my whole life. As I lay there tears streaming down my face, imagining myself under water trapped in that truck, I heard another voice say, “You’re in the sunken place.” I cried out, “NO! That was a bubble floating upward to explode upon the water’s surface. I am nobody’s victim!”
“My realization is that, I’ve been confined in a bubble floating through life slowly suffocating. To redeem the time and regenerate the stagnate aspects of myself, I must break free from any constraints or diminution. I am valuable and my life matters. I must let go of past hurt, grief, fear and disappointments to connect with the creative and regenerating force of my true self (God in me). To enter into what is mine by divine right, I must continuously draw into and be inspired by the unparalleled life (unique in kind or quality); and thereby be emboldened by the power of self-actualization. It’s time to do me and continue to boldly face whatever comes my way.”
This is the first time I’ve heard an anomalous voice speaking to someone about me during a dream. I’ve had some pretty strange dreams, but this is one of the weirdest. Maybe this dream came as a sign of a breakthrough, as I am now spiritual and no longer religious.
Seeing a hotel in your dream means a new state of mind or a shift in personal identity. You need to move away from your old habits and old way of thinking.
Dreaming that you are at a concert, represents harmony and cooperation in a situation or relationship of your waking life. You are experiencing an uplift in your spirits.
Seeing a famous singer in your dream, represents harmony and some divine influence or vibrations. It indicates glorification of the human spirit. Consider also your general impression of this singer and how those specific qualities may be triggered by someone or some situation in your waking life.
Dreaming that it is morning indicates that fortune and pleasure are within near reach. It may also indicate new beginnings, renewal, an awakening or starting over. Dreaming that the morning is cloudy means that an important situation will burden you for a while.
Seeing a truck in your dream, implies that you are overworked. You may be taking on too many tasks and responsibilities that are weighing you down. On a side note, pregnant women often dream of trucks or driving trucks. This may be a metaphor of the load they are are carrying or an expression of their changing bodies.
Dreaming that you are in a garage means a period of inactivity and idleness in your life. You may feel that you have no direction or guidance toward achieving your goals. Dreaming that you are pulling your car into the garage, represents security and stability brought about by your accomplishments and efforts. Dreaming that you are opening the garage door indicates that you have made a decision about a matter. You may have decided on the path you will take in reaching your opportunities and goals. On the other hand, if you are closing the garage door, then it suggests that you are putting off your goals for the sake of others around you.
Seeing a city in your dream means a sense of community and your social environment. Dreaming that you are in a deserted city or that you feel alienated from the activity of the city, suggests that you feel rejected by those around you. Seeing a city in ruins means that you are neglecting your social relationships and allowing them to deteriorate.
Dreaming that you are climbing a hill means your struggles in achieving a goal. Dreaming that you are standing on top of a hill means that you have succeeded in your endeavors or that you have now have the resources to complete a task at hand.
Dreaming that you are driving a vehicle means your life’s journey and your path in life. The dream is telling of how you are moving and navigating through life. If you are driving and cannot see the road ahead of you, then it indicates that you do not know where you are headed in life and what you really want to do with yourself. You are lacking direction and goals. If you are driving on a curvy road, then it indicates that you are having difficulties in achieving your goals and the changes associated with it. Dreaming that someone else is driving you, represents your dependence on the driver. You are not in control of your life and following the goals of others instead of your own. If you are driving from the passenger side of a car, then it suggests that you are trying to gain control of the path that your life is taking. You are beginning to make your own decisions.
Dreaming that you are going up a ramp means your struggles in achieving a goal. It is symbolic of your determination and ambition. If you fail to go up a ramp, then it suggests that you are not able to overcome your difficulties. There are still obstacles standing on your way. Dreaming that you are going down a ramp, refers to some instability in your life.
Seeing a highway in your dream, represents your sense of direction and your life’s path. Consider the conditions of the highway which will reveal how much you feel in charge of your life. A smooth, straight highway means inner peace, while a winding, bumpy road reflects emotional distress/disharmony.
Seeing an opening in your dream means a new influence or new-found inspiration entering your life. Dreaming that you are opening something, suggests that you are unleashing your potential. It may also mean new opportunities.
Seeing water in your dream, symbolizes your unconscious and your emotional state of mind. Water is the living essence of the psyche and the flow of life energy. It is also symbolic of spirituality, knowledge, healing and refreshment. Seeing calm, clear water in your dream means that you are in tune with your spirituality. It indicates serenity, peace of mind, and rejuvenation. Seeing muddy or dirty water in your dream indicates that you are wallowing in your negative emotions. You may need to devote some time to clarify your mind and find internal peace. Alternatively, it suggests that your thinking/judgment is unclear and clouded. If you are immersed in muddy water, then it indicates that you are in over your head in a situation and are overwhelmed by your emotions. Dreaming that water is rising up in your house means your struggles and overwhelming emotions. Hearing running water in your dream indicates meditation, reflection and pondering of your thoughts and emotions. Dreaming that you are walking on water, suggests that you have supreme and ultimate control over your emotions. It may also suggest that you need to “stay on top” of your emotions and not let them explode out of hand. Alternatively, it is symbolic of faith in yourself.
To dream of being afraid is an expression of hidden anxiety and untamed fears. Left out of control, these would lead to failure at the private and professional levels. When you dream of others being afraid, it might indicate that you are unconsciously ignoring their calls for help, you might need to leave your own fears behind and lend a helping hand, because these frightened people are in no situation to offer any kind of support.
Dreaming that you are floating, implies acceptance, letting go of your problems or worries and just going with the flow. You are experiencing new-found freedom. It also means that you will prove victorious over your obstacles that may presently seem overwhelming. Dreaming that you are floating, but are afraid to move, suggests that you are questioning your own abilities. You are experiencing doubts in yourself.
Interpretation Source | hyperdictionary.com | dream