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Moses Godfrey Image 350 px_edited_edited.jpg

Starting Something Special

The Census information we have leads us to believe that he fathered 7 children. It is unclear how he acquired the land that he raised his family on, but at some point prior to the 1910 Census, Moses Godfrey is listed as "Employer". He is 70 years old at this point. He would have been a minority of the minority to be a black land and business owner during the late 18 and early 1900's.

After the ratification of the 13th amendment the southern states entered a period of time called "Reconstruction". During this time black Americans lived under "Black Codes" and "Jim Crow" laws. Moses' rights would constantly be in flux and up for interpretation by the local, state and federal government. The south was trying to rebuild itself after war ran through the region, and it was simultaneously trying to define which freedoms Black Americans would be allowed. 

Under these circumstances, Moses fathered the first members of his family to be registered to serve in the U.S. military. Jack and Lumpkin Godfrey both have World War I draft registration cards in the history books. The family would go on to have someone serving in the military in some way shape or form during every major American conflict. 

Moses fathered Josh Godfrey who would move to Michigan and work for Ford Motor Company during a time known as the great migration. Looking to escape racial violence, and take advantage of a more progressive industrial north, Black Americans numbering in the millions relocated to the northern and western portions of the United States. Josh was a moment in progress himself, being one of the first in the family to be able to read and write. He took his talents to Michigan, hoping to further progress his families opportunities. 

The women contributions to the Godfrey family history are incredible. Retha, Ila, and Bessie Godfrey all lived under Moses roof at some point. Godfrey women at times have made the ultimate sacrifice. On more than one occasion an expecting mother was lost at or around the time of child birth. There are not a lot of documents illustrating actions of the women in the family, but what we can infer given the time they lived, along with birth and death certificates brings us to understand the gravity of their actions. 

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