Home of Author Dr. Carmen Subryan
CONNECTING WITH MY AFRICAN ROOTS
This book is not only about connection but also about discovery. As one who was skeptical of DNA testing, I never envisioned that I would have my DNA analyzed. However, after viewing shows where DNA testing was central to the outcome as well as shows chronicling how numerous personalities had discovered their roots and unknown family, I took the plunge, dutifully swabbing my inner cheeks, mailing off the kit, and waiting in anticipation for the results. Surely, I thought, my complicated heritage would not be revealed.
But I was wrong. I was aware of my European ancestry that I had traced as far back as the 1750’s from a white Scottish ancestor who owned a plantation in Guyana, South America on which I lived for almost twelve years; this he deeded to a colored woman and his eight children. I had also traced my maternal ancestry to a German immigrant to Guyana. And I was aware of my trace Indigenous roots. But the greatest part of me…my almost 80% African roots from nine countries was unearthed. In attempting to connect with these ancestors, I not only connected with the pieces that melded together to create a unique me, but surprisingly, I discovered the undeniable role that many African ancestors had played in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and how their actions helped to crush the soul of a people.
Carmen Subryan Ph.D.
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After almost five decades away, Doreen, a retired senior citizen, returns to her birth country to discover whether she could spend the last days of her life in a place that had nurtured her and contributed to the woman she had become. Indeed, she had departed just two years after British Guiana had received its independence from Great Britain, lowered the Union Jack, raised the Golden Arrowhead, renamed itself Guyana, and set out to chart its path as a cooperative republic.
At first everything seems new and exciting, but soon she finds herself sliding down a path of disillusionment. The old culture resurfaces, trying to drown her in a morass, and soon her “first” world consciousness clashes with a “third” world reality. Yet she finds pleasure in exploring and recording the history of the Linden area as well as the culture embedded deep in her psyche. Eventually, she finds herself stepping on the proverbial crack that would “break her mother’s back.” After six months, she realizes that, like Thomas Wolfe, she “can’t go home again.”
Dr. Carmen Subryan
As a child, Carmen Barclay Subryan lived beside the beautiful Demerara River at Retrieve, Mackenzie, where the roots of her mother’s ancestors, the Allicocks, run deep into the history of the region. She attended Christianburg Scots School, where she later taught, Mackenzie High School, and Guyana Teachers College. In 1968, she immigrated to the USA to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. There she received a B.A magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, an M.A., and in 1983, a Ph.D. degree, all in English. In 1974, she began teaching at Howard University, retiring in 2015 after 41 years there. She is the mother of two daughters and grandmother to two grandsons and one granddaughter.
Always interested in her roots, Carmen has penned three novels, Black–Water Women, Black–Water People, and Black–Water Children, based loosely on the Allicock family history. She has also authored three books of poetry, Reprise, Rachel’s Tears, and Sketches: People–Watching in the U S of A. In 2016, she published a book of short stories entitled Realities: Stories from our Times. In addition, she has written three booklets about the Linden area: “The Story of Christianburg”, “The Story of Wismar” and “The Story of Mackenzie”. In May 2017, on her return from a six and a half month stay in Guyana, she began writing her work, Stepping on Cracks: Reflections on my Homeland. After having her DNA analyzed in 2018, Dr. Subryan began writing Finding My Roots and Other Stories, a series of ten short stories set mainly in the Upper Demerara area of Guyana, S. America.
An avid reader, Carmen is focusing on developing a love of reading in children and to this end she distributed copies of her book Black–Water People to high school students in the Linden area.