About the Author. . .
My life has taken several different paths. I am an African American who was
born in Greensboro, North Carolina, to parents who were born in Louisiana. For
the next twenty years, I spent time between Greensboro and countries in Africa as
my father’s work took him to Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.
As a result of these factors, my upbringing was not the usual. I had many
unique experiences and a varied education. In 1972, I received a Bachelor of
Science Degree in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
During the 1970s, I spent seven years in Los Angeles working as an obstetrical
nurse. However, I also began to connect more with my heritage on trips home
to Greensboro when I would inevitably become involved in one or more of my
mother’s projects. She would later become the director and curator of the Heritage
Center on the campus of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.
I returned to Greensboro in 1979 where I spent over two decades more working
as an obstetrical nurse. In addition to this work, I continued to assist my mother
with occasional projects at the Heritage Center. In 2000, I developed breast cancer
for which I had surgery and treatments. I am now a seven-year survivor. Other
significant changes occurred in 2003, when I left the nursing profession to care for
my ailing mother. I loss her later that year. During this period of turmoil, I chose a
new path. It was my opportunity for new goals and the pursuit of other interests –
those of genealogy and heritage.
In January 2007, I became a fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center
for Jefferson Studies, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. at Monticello. I received
a First Union National Bank of Virginia fellowship award. It was a tremendous
opportunity for me with memories that I will cherish always. In turn, you will also
reap the benefit of this experience from the new directions I have taken for this
If you are wondering—my name, Bernetiae, is pronounced like “Bernita.”