Making A Difference: The Buckley Family Reunion - - Jackson, MS

Making A Difference: The Buckley Family Reunion

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
LAWRENCE COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Buckley Family has been having their annual family reunion this time of the year for 65 years now. There are lots of things they can attribute for making differences in each of their individual lives. But the annual reunion is one of the biggest.

A slave by the name of Riley Buckley was born about 1840 near Oak Vale in Lawrence County. And here, nearly 175 years later, some of his 500 descendents are gathering at New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, as they have been doing every year since 1949, to meet and greet and hug and eat, and to sing.

Singing is a big part of the Buckley family. Maudine Taylor is the oldest member of the group and remembers singing from way back.

When I was a child my granddaddy, John Buckley, he was my music teacher, said Taylor. “And he would have us to put the notes on the black board. And if anything went wrong, he would take his walking cane and put us back on tune.”

It's memories like that, of lessons taught, about music and more, that is the mainstay of these reunions; to carry the story of the family down to the next generation; to tell them about great things their ancestors have done, to show them land grants signed by President Monroe and Teddy Roosevelt, giving former salves land promised upon their freedom, and to pass along the spirit that has kept the family together.

“Our family was a praying family from way back,” said family member Vonnie Gentry. “And they believed in prayer and anything you wanted God to do you asked him for it and you believed. And they taught us as children to believe that.”

The preacher always said the family that prays together stays together. Well, the Buckley's did, and they have, and hope that closeness Makes A Difference for the new Buckleys coming along.

"I, you know, have got those traditional values instilled," said family member Wayne Mariner. "And I'm just trying to pass it on."

Being here at this reunion and being a Buckley can't help but indelibly stamp on each person's heart that they are somebody, and are a part of something bigger than themselves. And the 65 years of greeting, hugging, singing and eating has Made a Difference for this family.

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