Retired US Army, Award-winning Author, Independent Historian, and Genealogist
Joyceann Gray a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. She is the middle child of five children. In 1980, she entered the Army and spent the next 20 years excelling in her occupational specialties of communications, administrative management, and marketing. While on active duty stationed at Fort Gordon, GA, she volunteered as the Director of the Heritage Unity Festival for Augusta, Ga. in 1996 and again in 1997. The festival was hailed as the largest festival to date ever in the Augusta-Richmond area bringing in over 15,000 people. The size of the first festival in 1996 was second only to the grand opening of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta on the same day. The Festival presented over 500 performers and four active stages, 75 vendors, and 300 volunteers from the Fort Gordon community including the Deputy Commander offering opening remarks. The Mayor of Augusta-Richmond, Larry E. Sconyers, declared 18 July 1996 “Unity Day” and on 20, July 1997 he declared “City-Wide Annual Unity Day.” After retiring from the Army, she went to work with her brother Bill and together they built a major Real Estate Teaching and Appraisal firm employing over 25 people in northern California. Mrs. Gray developed and taught an accredited appraisal course during this time. After retiring a second time, Mrs. Gray focused her attention on collegiate studies earning an Associate in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications, and a Master’s in Psychology.
Joycann’s historical and genealogical research began to take a more prominent role in her life in 2008 and the focus is primarily on her family movements from Virginia to Canada & Liberia. The research then began to spread from Kentucky and Tennessee to Kansas and from South Carolina, Kansas, and Canada to Nebraska. Her first book “Yes We Remember” covers the stories of achievements and legacies that her ancestors left for the present and future generations.
“Our Dewitty” her second book has been named one of the winners in the 2018 International AAHGS Book Awards Contest (IABA). In this book, the focus is on the Women of her family, friends, and neighbors who collectively established the longest-lasting Black Settlement in all of Nebraska. Conversations of what they might have had to say since largely their voice has not been heard in most all accountings of the Homesteaders. Joyceann has presented a portion of her historical work during the AAHGS October 2015 Conference in Richmond, VA., and to the Middle Potomac History Researchers at the Josephine School Community Museum in Berryville, Virginia. She recorded her research on the Hatter family, for E-Learning- Jim Surkamp Presentations for American Public University System.
Many of the Black Homesteaders of Nebraska stories in her third book ‘Proofing the Claim’ are posted by the National Park Service on their website.
She accepted the call for contributing to Blackpast.org by submitting numerous articles on Black Female Ambassadors and other notable Black Doctors, Politicians, and Educators.