Project Roots: Askew – 1920 U.S. Federal Census

1920 U.S. Federal Census – Georgia, Clayton, Jonesboro, District 64
Sheet No. 3B – Enumerated on 20 January 1920
Roundtreeb(?) Road

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My grandfather, Lish Askew, was only 12 years old on the date of enumeration for this census year. Life is indeed fleeting, but witnessing just how fleeting it is on paper just makes me want to live my life out loud and regret nothing. Ten years after this enumeration, granddaddy was married and the head of his own household. What dreams, hopes, and wishes flowed through the mind of this 12 year old boy who was going to school and working as a farm laborer in the Jim Crow South?

Lish lived with his family on what I believe to be Roundtree Road in Jonesboro, Georgia. I could not find a Roundtreeb Road, or even and Roundtrees Road anywhere in Jonesboro, Georgia. In moments like these, I always turn to my trusted research companion, Google Maps.

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There’s a Roundtree Road, and an Old Roundtree Road.  I believe somewhere along Old Roundtree Road is where the Askew family lived, and also where William worked as a sharecropper.  I had an eye-popping moment when I realized that I attended elementary school barely over a mile from where my great-grandparents once resided and worked.  The year was 1979.  I was a third grader.  It was the first time in my life that I was called “nigger,” and it would not be the last.  I wondered how many times in my grandfather’s and great-grandparents’ lives were they called that.  I’m sure it was way too many times to count.

Information not included in the transcript:

  • The Askew family lived in a rented home on a farm, which was the norm for sharecropping families.
  • Dewey, Nettie, Lish, and Janette attended school.
  • Bertha was the newlywed wife of Floyd Askew.