Daily Archives: June 14, 2015

Remembering the Emmanuel Family


Joyceann Gray


A Town of New Beginnings and Lasting Legacies
Their point was not to establish a generational farming community but to establish a base for their children and future generations as well as excel in whatever field they chose.  And they had the audacity to think they could.

We remember the Emanuel family today, warm, loving and hard working. From Gary County came the Emanuels to Canada, and then migrating back to the states and Nebraska.   Joshua Emanuel the second son of Samuel and Sarah was a dynamic intelligent individual who, along with John Kersey, and John Travis, designed and built the Bethel Methodist Church in Buxton, Canada. In coming to Nebraska, he brought experience and skill with a good business head. The various buildings would later demonstrate this skill as he designed and help to build in Dawson and again in DeWitty-Audacious. He married Lucinda Travis and they had seven children together. After her passing, l he married Ida Delienay and they had two children together.  Sadly, Joshua would pass at the young age of 52 and would not live to see how fine his children and future generations turned out. One particular descendant is James Andrew Emanuel born on June 15, 1921, in Alliance, Neb. His father, Alfred, died when he was young. His mother, Cora, was a schoolteacher and a driving force in his life. James became a renown poet, educator, and critic who published more than a dozen volumes of his poetry, much of it after his frustration with racism in the United States which helped motivate him to move to France. James received his higher education at Howard University in 1950 and received his master’s from Northwestern in 1953. He earned his doctorate in English and comparative literature from Columbia while he was teaching at City College.

Jamesemanuel-obit-articleLarge became the epitome of what each of the homesteaders of DeWitty-Audacious wanted for their children. You can find James A Emanuel papers at the Library of Congress


For more on James’ life achievements: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/12/books/james-a-emanuel-poet-who-wrote-of-racism-dies-at-92.html?ref=obituaries&_r=1

Thanks to all who have sent checks to help in celebrating the homesteaders of DeWitty-Audacious and their legacy by donating to our Historical Marker fund: the most successful rural African-American community in the state.   If you haven’t done so, you can send a contribution to:     Security First Bank

PO Box 480       Valentine, Nebraska 69201

Make checks payable to: “DeWitty Historical Marker Fund.”

The family of Joshua and Mary Emanuel FB_IMG_1434282658075
Names:  Joshua and Mary A. Emanuel and their children – Top row – Alfred baby daughter Julia and his wife Cora – Wilbert, John, Mary, Jennie, Lawrence, Grace, Joshua (dad), Hattie, Mary Ann (mom), baby Elza (in mom’s lap), – Frank, Carl, Nellie & Dewey Emanuel’s 1913
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