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Family Influential in Civil Rights & Jazz Music Featured on Legacy List

LL Haynes - MLK
Matt Paxton shows Crystal Haynes a photo of her uncle with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Legacy List with Matt Paxton. (Photos: Legacy List)

Crystal Haynes collects things. As the family historian, she collects their stories, images, memories for the next generation. As a former educator, she collects books, papers and awards. As a member of the ??? sorority, she collects reminders of service and sisterhood.

Collections of this magnitude and of such deep sentiment can become overwhelming. Fortunately, Haynes called Legacy List with Matt Paxton to provide the tools she needs to downsize and still keep the memories important to her.

“Working with Matt and his team was so enlightening in so many ways!” said Haynes. “They helped me to let go of items and instead, keep the feelings and memories the items instilled.”

But Matt and his team find much more than collectibles - they discover the Haynes’ family heritage rich in music, leadership, and strengthening their community.

Haynes’ father, Vincent Haynes, was a journalist, photographer, Jazz historian, and community activist in his hometown of Roxbury, Massachusetts, a Black neighborhood in Boston. His brother, Rev. Michael Haynes, served three terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and became an influential spiritual leader in Roxbury, rubbing shoulders with important Civil Rights leaders such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Another brother, Roy Haynes, is one of the most recorded percussionists in jazz. His career spans over seventy-five years, playing with the likes of Charlie Parker and Sarah Vaughan.

“I have always valued my family history,” Haynes commented. “However, hearing and seeing it through Matt’s eyes made it even more important, more significant to me.”

How does one sort through the history of a family with such deep roots and impact in the community? With great care and abundant reverence. And the Legacy List team walked Haynes through the process, teaching her how to continue honoring their memories by letting go.

“I look at belongings through the lens of my children now,” Haynes offered. “I am trying to help identify items of importance and separate items that are only important to me, so that their living legacy is more meaningful and understood.”

And what a big legacy it is. With such an influential family, Matt and his team discover poignant and inspirational stories, as well as some exceptional finds that surprise even Haynes.

Tune in to find out. Legacy List with Matt Paxton airs this Monday at 9:00 p.m. on VPM. You can also stream it from the VPM website or through your PBS Passport.

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