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February 15, 2024

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Celebrating Black History Month: My History and My Inheritance

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By Angela Duckett, Director of Clinician Coding Quality Assurance


The Big House

My mother and her brother were born in South Carolina in the early 1940s, and for my entire life I heard tales about “The Big House” where they grew up. The Big House belonged to my great-grandfather, Alfred Moss. Alfred was an entrepreneur and an astute businessman who garnered much respect in town as he was one of the first African Americans to own property in McCormick, South Carolina. His first purchase was The Big House where his family lived and operated a lucrative farming business. He went on to purchase several notable properties over his life, but The Big House is the property that has stuck with my family both physically and emotionally. Many family members have memories of time spent at The Big House. Some lived there for a portion of their lives, others have stories of visits and play time as young kids. Everyone recalls that Alfred Moss was a stern man – everyone listened to him, and everyone loved him. The Big House was the family safe haven for anyone who needed a place to stay.

Back in those days, it was dangerous for Black families who lived in the South. Things could be especially dangerous for Alfred Moss because of his success and how well known he had become. My uncles all tell stories of many nights that my great-grandfather sat on the porch all night to protect his family and his property from the ongoing race-related activities in the South back then.

My First Visit to The Big House

In 2016, I visited The Big House for the first time and, my oh my, it really is big! When our 12-passenger van stopped in front of the house, my mother – who was 74 at the time – was overcome with emotion. When we all exited the van to go inside, she elected to stay and wait. She later shared that she stayed behind because the memories of her grandparents and the life she lived there were simply too overwhelming to handle that day.

As I walked the land and toured the barn and the house, I felt tremendous pride. I previously visited many historic homes that belonged to America’s forefathers in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia. I love visiting the homes. I enjoy immersing myself in history and feeling the spirit of those who once occupied those spaces. This, however, was different. These were MY ancestors, and this history was my personal legacy. It was emotional for all of us that day. There were moments in the house when we were all quiet, reflecting.

Alfred Moss’s Legacy Lives On

My great-grandfather’s house is recorded as a national register property in South Carolina. When I was there in 2016, we traveled to “the town,” which is a quaint little row of buildings that house every important municipal including city hall. Right there on a small sign were pictures of “The Big House,” known as the Gilbert-Moss house on the register. The Big House is cemented in history. The register reveals details about the architecture and history of the home prior to Alfred Moss, including that the prior owner was a soldier in the Confederate army.

When Alfred Moss died, he left property for each of his 10 children. We don’t know the exact amount of property he left, although it’s assumed it was in excess of 400 acres split 10 ways. As the generations have lived and land inheritance has been separated and passed down, my mother and her brother now own 31.5 acres of Alfred Moss’s land. My sisters and I will inherit my mother’s half, 15.75 acres. Thank you, Alfred Moss, for leaving such rich Black history and an inheritance for us.

In reflecting on my great-grandfather’s remarkable journey and the inheritance he left for our family, I am reminded of the profound impact of Black history on shaping our present and future. Alfred Moss’s resilience, determination, and commitment to family and community are an enduring inspiration.

As we celebrate Black History Month, let us not only honor the sacrifices and triumphs of those who came before us but also reaffirm our commitment to fostering an inclusive environment where every voice is heard and valued.

Together, let us carry forward the torch of those who came before us, forging a path toward a brighter future for generations to come, both within our company and in the communities we serve.

Visit our DEI page to learn more about TeamHealth’s commitments to inclusion and acceptance.