Thomasville-- More than 600 relatives are returning to their roots this weekend for the 32nd annual Hadley-Hawthorne-Dickey-Walden and related family reunion.
Branches of this large and loving family get together every year, but its only once a decade they meet back here where it all started. "We come back to Thomasville every 10 years, and usually when we come here, back to our roots, everybody comes," said Jack Hadley.
It's a first experience for many. . . others have years of memories. "It is very much exciting, I'm glad to see everybody, people I haven't seen in ages. Some I haven't seen since last time we had a family reunion here," said 85 year-old Estella Hadley Groover.
Ten years ago, around 900 relatives attended. This morning, over 600 were expected to register for the reunion. "I'm glad to see them and I'm glad to be here with them. So many of them have gone since that time," said Groover. Chairperson for the reunion, Dr. Linda I. Walden added, "we're also going to have a memorial service to honor and pay tribute to our loved ones who have gone on in the last 10 years."
There's also lots of light-hearted activities planned for the next four days. "We're going to have a good old fashioned fish fry, at the Douglas high school alumni complex, everybody will get a chance to see my Uncle's museum, Jack Hadley black history museum," said Walden.
"I've got African-American history there. Let our young people know that there are African Americans who have come to great things," said Hadley. Including some of their very own ancestors they'll get a chance to remember too. "We're going to visit all of the homesteads where our people came from," explained Walden.
A committee has been planning the reunion for the last year. Despite the hard work they say its worth it and encourage others to do the same. "Know your roots, know your heritage because if you don't know where you've come from, you don't know where you're going to go," Walden said.
The family also has plans for a picnic in the country, a banquet, and a talent show at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium.