In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future." 
~ Alex Haley

 We have traced our family roots back to my great-great-great grandmother, Henrietta Fannie Polk (born - 1849) of Nashville, Tennessee. It is speculated that her family may have been slaves of President James K. Polk. Henrietta had a daughter named Alice Caldonia Smith Cotten (born - 1862). Alice married Charlie Smith and to that union 3 children were born. Later, Alice Caldonia worked for the Cotten family. Alice and Thomas Moore Cotten entered into a relationship, but interracial marriage and collaboration was illegal in the State of TN. To this union (marriage in our eyes), 6 children survived. Since they could not live in the same residence, Thomas Moore purchased a duplex so that he could be with his mate and their children. The couple raised their children together until death. My great-grandmother, Alice Lucille Cotten was one of those children. The Cotten family owned and operated a local market in South Nashville. Alice Lucille married Thomas Jefferson Brooks and to their union 10 children were born. They became teachers, an engineer, a policeman, a phone operator, a nurse, musicians, and all around good people. They earned degrees, both Bachelors and Masters. This was a great accomplishment for their time.

Our annual family reunion started in 1954 in Franklin, TN and has continued every year since. In 2004 we celebrated our 50th anniversary and were honored with a Resolution by the Tennessee State Legislature.

"We must remember that the family is the basic unit of our society. Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." 

~ LaTonya Ellis                                                 Click here for Family Reunion 2022 Info


Celebrating 70 years (1954-2024) of Bringing Family Together                                                                                                 


Click to see the family's I-Report entry for
the CNN Black in America 2.