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During the summer of 1993, while on summer break from Mississippi State University, young Melvin J. Collier, an engineering major from Canton, walked through the doors of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, anxiously aspiring to dig up his family roots.  Little did he know that the history-uncovering journey he was about to embark would take him all over the Deep South and even back to West Africa.  Collier has spent innumerable days researching and documenting the history of his family.  He credits his "curiosity bug" to his late paternal grandmother, Mrs. Willie Ealy Collier, with whom he had a very close relationship and who often shared with him stories about her Lena, Mississippi roots and upbringing.  His passion for history, writing, and researching led to his major career change from working nearly a decade in Corporate America in Memphis, Tennessee as a civil engineer to obtaining a Master of Arts degree in African-American Studies from Clark Atlanta University.  He has worked as an archivist in the Atlanta University Center and is now federally employed in the Washington, D.C. Metro area. Collier gives numerous presentations on historical and genealogical topics.  He is also the author of 150 Years Later: Broken Ties Mended, which was released in July 2011.


Melvin and Dr. Rick A. Kittles, co-founder of African Ancestry, Inc.
 

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