[ skip to content ]


"Let Freedom Ring," a ceremony marking the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, in the North and Center cafeterias of Webb University Center at Old Dominion University.

Eric Sheppard of Elkridge, Md., a descendant of Moses Grandy, the subject of the famous book "The Narrative of the Life of Moses Grandy, Late a Slave in the United States of America" will be the guest speaker. Sheppard was among a group of Grandy's descendants who gathered in Chesapeake this year for a family reunion to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the book's publication.

An official ODU proclamation marking the anniversary will be read, as will the text of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Sheppard is the chairman and co-founder of Slave Descendants Freedom Society Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist individuals and organizations with genealogy research training and awareness, developing empowerment initiatives and promoting recognition programs for slaves' contributions in building America. He is also the author of a recent book, "Ancestor's Call."

Sheppard started doing family genealogy research in 1996 and is a member of the African-American Historical and Genealogical Society. During his genealogy research, Sheppard discovered a slave narrative about a formerly enslaved ancestor named Moses Grandy. The "Narrative of the Life of Moses Grandy" was published in 1843 by the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.

This year, Sheppard co-organized the first ever Grandy Family Reunion, held in Chesapeake, Va., and Camden, N.C. Through his efforts, more than 140 Grandy family members and friends from around the nation came together for the first time to rekindle the Grandy ancestral flame and pay tribute to the life of Moses Grandy.

Sheppard is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and spent a combined 15 years working for the Department of Defense as an active-duty airman and later as a civilian employee. One of the highlights of his defense career was working on the Stealth Bomber Program during its developmental stage.

Sheppard earned a bachelor's of science degree in technical management from the University of Maryland. He also holds associate degrees from the Community College of the Air Force and Catonsville, Md., Community College.

He is the father of two adult children. He and his wife, Lisa, live with their two children, Malcolm and MacKenzie.

Old Dominion University's Hugo A. Owens African American Cultural Center, as well as the offices of Community Relations and Multicultural Student Services, are sponsoring the Jan. 22 program. For more information call 683-5759.

This article was posted on: December 5, 2003

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.