Margo Lee Williams is an award winning, genealogy and history author. Williams has researched and written extensively on her Lassiter family of Randolph County, North Carolina. Her first book, published in 2011, Miles Lassiter (circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Backintyme Publishing) told the story of both her personal and research journeys that led to the discovery of her fourth great grandfather, Miles Lassiter.
Williams’ second book, published in 2016, From Hill Town to Strieby: Education and the American Missionary Association in the Uwharrie “Back Country” of Randolph County, North Carolina (Backintyme Publishing), picks up where her first book left off. From Hill Town to Strieby is a social history that follows the development of the school and church, founded in 1880 by a mixed race, former slave, and 19th century poet, the Rev. Islay Walden. The church and school served the Lassiter Mill and Hill Town/Strieby communities of color in southwestern Randolph County. Her research led to the Strieby Church, School and Cemetery property being named a Randolph County Cultural Heritage Site in 2014 and a United for Libraries Literary Landmark in 2021. Both of Williams’ books have won genealogy and history book awards.
Williams’ third book, published in April 2021, is titled Born Missionary: The Islay Walden Story. Born Missionary follows the life of the Rev. Islay Walden from his early days in Washington, D. C., where he sought an education at Howard University, through his return to North Carolina as minister and teacher with the American Missionary Association. Born Missionary is a 2021 winner of the Phillis Wheatley Literary Award from the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage and a Firebird Book Award from Speakup Talk Radio.
Williams is a frequent lecturer at Washington DC area Family History Centers and other local genealogical societies. She is currently the Deputy Registrar for the National Society Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage. She is a former Project Historian for the Historical Black Communities of Sandy Spring (Maryland) Project, at the Sandy Spring Museum, and former editor of the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. Her research interests focus on community and family histories of people of color in the southeast, especially those in North Carolina and Virginia, who often had mixed race origins.
Williams is a member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society; the North Carolina Genealogical Society; the Randolph County (NC) Genealogical Society; the National Society Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage; the National Society Descendants of American Farmers; the Non-Fiction Authors Association; and Geneabloggerstribe.
Williams is a graduate of Marquette University. She has her M. A. in Sociology from Hunter College and her M. A. in Religious Education from The Catholic University of America. She worked for over twenty years at various churches in the suburban Washington DC area, and another eight years as a National Service Officer with Vietnam Veterans of America. She has one daughter.
NFAA Member of the Week Interview: Margo Lee Williams
Margo Lee Williams Speaks Up About Her Books and Genealogy