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Kess Circle

I was an adult when I learned about Kess Circle.

I’d learned a ton about my mother’s side of my family growing up as I spent the majority of my time around them.  While there were mysteries and gaps and tales that more properly should be known as legend than history, I at least knew about it.  All I knew about my father’s family was about our specific branch starting with my grandparents. My father and his numerous stories (he should have been a writer.  His Baltimore stories were awesome). My uncles and their love of boxing. And obviously, family drama. But not much more. Even as I developed a deep love and study of Black history while I was in high school, my own origins were still vague and even more mysterious.

Some time around 1997-1998, I received an email from someone claiming to be a relative.  He’d been online looking for other Kesses and had come across my then-website. We struck up a conversation over email and as it turned out, he was indeed a relative, part of the extended Kess family that I knew pretty much nothing about.  Kevin shared information with me about the larger family, our origins, how many of us there were. What seemed like a smallish family, centered around Yale Heights where my grandparents lived, was just a small part of a much larger family with a rich history.

This eventually lead to a meeting.  

I was able to convince my grandfather to go down to Glen Burnie with me to see Kevin’s immediate folks.  PaPa, one of my uncles, and I piled into my grandfather’s minivan and made the trip where we met Kevin and his father.  The two older men were cousins who had not seen each other in a very long time. They talked about so many things — our history, our ancestors.  We made plans to get them back together at some point, but unfortunately, we never did that. I fell out of touch with Kevin. His father passed. My grandfather did.

Fortunately, the family history hasn’t.  If anything, it’s spread more. A lot of the extended Kess family is online.  I don’t know them well, but I’m at a time in my life where I can change that. I plan to.  And not on online, but in showing my face some down Route 100 soon and wherever else we may be.

Kess Circle on Instagram

Writer, et. al.