In addition to the Financial Literacy portion of the February Mentor session, the Mentees heard from Retired Major Ronald Steptoe. Mr. Steptoe is a graduate of West Point and served 20 years in the U.S. Army. Through the efforts of his family to maintain their history, Mr. Steptoe told the Mentees the story of his ancestors who were freed Blacks after being indentured servants in the1680s. His 5th Great Grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War and as a result was awarded 400 acres of land in Virginia. His family farmed the land for decades. He talked and presented documentation that during the Revolutionary War, the British Army offered the Black slaves their freedom, if they fought for the British. Many of the slaves who lived near Mr. Steptoe’s relatives did fight with the British, and when the British lost the war, they took those Black people with them when they left the country.
When the Civil War broke out, Mr. Steptoe’s 3rd Great Grandfather enlisted as a spy for the Union Army. The family was living in Virginia and his ancestor provided information about troop movements. The Confederate Army learned about the spying and captured and beheaded Mr. Steptoe’s relative. They were going to behead the spy’s son but decided to let him go so he could tell others the consequences of being a spy for the Union Army. The incident so traumatized the family that no one talked about it for 150 years.
The Mentees found value in the session. Here is an excerpt from a Mentees’ journal entry about the session:
Excerpt from a 10th Grader: We also had a presentation by Mr. Steptoe, and it was about his family history and American history and how his great grandfather was a spy Mr. Bowser I think it was and he was killed in front of his child and the people that killed him were going to cut his son’s head off but they didn’t so he could tell other spies not to spy anymore. I found the presentation very interesting
The L.A.M.P. Mentor Program continues to expose our Mentees to skills and information that will serve them well in the present and the future and enlighten and empower them through knowledge about the history and their value. We wish to thank the Mentors who were present and provided important facilitation during the session. We also wish to thank St. Francis High School and Father Tony Marti for making their facilities available for the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program. You can join us on this journey that provides a vehicle for the Mentees to become the productive and responsible adults that the world needs. You can support the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program through a donation at www.gzbfoundation,org/donate.