Category Archives: History

The controversy surrounding Emory Conrad Malick, Sunbury’s first “black” aviator

By: Amy L Thomas
– The Sunbury American – Harrisburg100

A controversy began when the Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine published an article in March 2011 entitled “The Unrecognized First”. The article explains that Mary Groce, a descendant of Emory Conrad Malick, found a picture of her great uncle and believed he appeared black. Upon seeing his picture, Groce and her cousin, Aileen exclaimed “Oh my God, he’s black” and “This explains my brother’s blond afro!” The black and white picture shows a man with a cap covering his hair, flying an early airplane. The article’s picture closely matches a picture of Emory shown in an advertisement with the label “E C Malick” for the Curtiss School of Aviation Class of 1912, seeming to confirm the identification of the individual in the photo. But no one authenticated the claim and there was not even a claim of a family tradition of being black. In fact, the descendant stated, “I was never told about Emory or my mixed heritage.

The fact that Emory was a pioneer aviator is not in doubt. There are plenty of documents showing his attendance at the Curtiss Aviation School, visiting his parents in Northumberland County, and performing aerial exhibitions in the area. His exploits are described in the local newspapers for approximately 19 years. But all contemporaneous records have shown that Emory and other members of the extended family were indeed, white. Of course, having the first black anything would be an honor for any family to claim, but it would need to be based on established facts and documentation to have any value.

The claim that Emory Conrad Malick was the First Black Aviator might have gone unchallenged if not for a book published in 2014 by black aviation historian, Guy E Franklin, titled “Emory Conrad Malick: A Closer Look”. In Franklin’s book, Guy methodically outlines the case that Emory was in all actuality, white. He even included research on Emory’s membership in the The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which was limited to white members at that time.

Multiple contemporaneous documents show not only that Emory was white, but that he had a “ruddy complexion, brown hair, and blue eyes”. The class picture alone from the Curtiss Aviation School would not prove that the written record is incorrect and that Emory was black or that perhaps that he may have been pretending to be white. Emory his parents, grandparents, and other ancestors as well as siblings all self-identified as being white.

Darius Malick (father) E C Malick (middle) Susan Conrad (mother)

The Sunbury Daily Item on 16 Jun 2013, added the claim that “His Malick ancestors, already of mixed European and African heritage, came to Pennsylvania from Germany in the 1700s.” To date, there has been no record found of any proof of mixed African heritage in the Malick family in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Please note, the people of Northumberland County did not nor would not care if these pioneers were white or black or members of any other ethnic group. But claims of this importance require evidence and all the evidence says the Malick families were white (reference 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, etc US census records as well as modern DNA ethnicity reports). 

Many Conrad/Malick descendants have completed genetic DNA testing done and they have yet to nd any in this line that show African descent in the ethnicity report. While some African DNA could support this premise, the lack of African DNA, even in trace amounts, suggests that they are not of African descent. In particular, one person who is a descendant of Darius Malick and Susanna Conrad showed no African ancestry in an ancestry.com autosomal test. 

Mary Groce with E C Malick Photo
Mary Groce has developed a narrative based off of her interpretation of a photograph and for over a decade has perpetuated said narrative across the country. But she has provided no evidence to support her claims, in fact, the evidence that is available shows her narrative to be false. Her own DNA results, via Ancestry.com, show that she does not possess any genes that can be directly linked to peoples of color from Africa. Her claim that the Malick line of her family, from which she is related to Emory by, was of color, even in part, has never been shown to be factual and is, for all intents and purposes, the ramblings of an individual intent on forcing the world to buy into her story. This goes beyond whether Emory was indeed of color and identi ed as white, like his entire family, because all the evidence shows that he was, in fact, white. Mary Groce has crafted a narrative based on one old photograph and a misconceived notion of racial identity and, as such, must either provide concrete evidence to prove herself in the right, or step aside and allow her Conrad and Malick relatives to tell the true story of Emory.

In conclusion, it seems that Guy Franklin’s investigation and conclusion that Emory was more likely white seems obvious. An independent observer would note that there are no indications anywhere in the record to suggest that Emory in particular or the Darius Malick family in general were black or even of mixed black ancestry. One would expect a high standard of evidence for declaring someone to be the First Black anything. Emory Conrad Malick does not meet this standard. Several museums and other such organizations took Ms. Groce at her word and have embraced the claims without validating the information.
As a distant cousin of Emory C Malick, I myself reached out to Mary Groce asking her to contact me and discuss her claims about Emory, but received no response.

I would like to thank Guy E Franklin, Tim Conrad and the facebook group Tuskegee Airman for all their help and research on this endeavor and all of our continued efforts to correct this claim that Emory Conrad Malick was the first black aviator, for it is an honor that truly belongs to Charles Ward Chappelle who earned a club license in 1911.

For a more in depth look including pictures, records and newspaper clippings, please visit our family research page – http://www.ancest4.com/emory_malick.shtml

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AntiFA to Burn Flag and Desecrate Graves in Gettysburg

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Update: AntiFA forced to retreat as Patriots Secure Gettysburg and Restore American Spirit

“ANTIFA” are planning on holding a rally at Gettysburg National Battlefield on July 1st, asks it’s members to “Bring and Burn Confederate Flags”.

By: Amy Lynne Thomas – The Sunbury American and Northumberland County Journal

Over the past few weeks, several US cities have been a hotbed of controversy over the removal of several Confederate monuments. After decades standing sentinel over New Orleans, the last of four Confederate monuments have been removed after being labeled as “Monuments of Racism and Hate”. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said of the removal of his city’s monuments: “To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in our more prominent places—in honor—is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, is an affront to our present and it is a bad prescription for our future”. The next state to follow in the footsteps in the movement is Arizona, where leaders call for the swift removal of six Confederate monuments around the state.

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Most recently, “Antifa” protesters in Texas have demanded the removal of a 100-year-old statue and “any other landmark that bears the name of Sam Houston”. Houston, one of the founders of Texas, was a staunch Unionist and denounced the creation of the Confederacy. But Houston owned slaves, so he’s been added to the purge list, which now includes: Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Woodrow Wilson, among many others.

Susan Platt, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, called for the Commonwealth to take down Confederate monuments and rename Confederate-themed highways and public buildings. In her political announcement, she states “I don’t believe it is right to celebrate an act of treason against the United States of America, a war that was waged for the purpose of maintaining slavery”.

In an online video,  Right Wing News stated that the “City of Baltimore wants to follow in New Orleans footsteps and remove several Confederate monuments”; including monuments to General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and ones to soldiers, sailors, and women.

Many have asked, “How long til this moves North?” To answer that question, the statue of a former mayor, Orville Hubbard, was removed from the front of the old City Hall building in Dearborn, Michigan and spent 17 months in storage before being placed on the lawn of the Dearborn Historical Museum. Beyond his name and dates of service, the statue’s new site will not provide any information about Hubbard and his views that made Dearborn “a symbol of the deep-seated racism of the North,” the New York Times said in 1969.

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A local group of self-proclaimed anti-fascism activists called “ANTIFA” are planning on holding a rally at Gettysburg National Battlefield on July 1st in protest of President Trump and asks it’s members to “Bring and Burn Confederate Flags”. The reasoning behind why this group picked the date and location for their rally is for the importance Gettysburg played in the American Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg started on July 1, 1863, when Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia met General George Meade’s Union Army of the Potomac. During the three-day battle, about 165,000 soldiers clashed in and around the small town of Gettysburg. When the Battle of Gettysburg was over on July 3, 1863, 51,000 soldiers were casualties (killed, wounded, captured or missing) in what remains the largest battle ever fought in North America. There are approximately 1,328 monuments, markers and memorials that stand in both the cemetery and battlefield to commemorate the Union and Confederate troops who fought there.

In removing any monument or marker of history, to what purpose does that serve? History in every corner of the world while oftentimes ugly and heinous, still serves a purpose. It is a remembrance to learning from our past and not condemning ourselves to repeat it. To some, it is a heritage that we tell future generations of who they are, where they come from and our American history is not a stumbling block but a stepping stone to a better future.

Update: The event link has recently been taken down: https://us.eventbu.com/gettysburg/burn-confederate-flag-to-trigger-trump-fans-day/229814

More perspectives on last years AntiFA Gettysburg protest:

http://www.eveningsun.com/story/news/local/gettysburg-area/2016/03/05/tensions-high-gettysburg-confederate-flag-rally/81310910/

https://centralpaantifascist.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/shut-down-confederate-flag-day-rally-reportback/

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Published By: Sean M. Guay – Harrisburg100