Rolling Out

Howard alum Lynn McDaniel manages the historic estate sale of Claude A. Barnett and Etta Moten Barnett

Howard alum Lynn McDaniel manages the historic estate sale of Claude A. Barnett and Etta Moten Barnett
Corner shot of living room inside the estate of Claude A Barnett, Founder of the Associated Negro Press and Etta Moten Barnett, Star. (Photo Courtesy Lynne McDaniel)

Lynn McDaniel is known for being the estate sale goddess. Along with her partner, Ty McDaniel, they specialize in estate sale liquidations and storytelling. She not only liquidates estates, but she also relishes in the fact that she can tell historically based stories that go along with the artifacts.

Rolling out recently had a chance to speak with McDaniel to learn more about who she is and exactly what she does.

For those who may not know, explain exactly what it is that you do.

As we die off, and people sell homes, the homes need to be completely white-boxed for the realtor to sell. So, they reach out to me and ask me to do an estate liquidation. I am the expert. I come in and look at art, music, vehicles, single engine jets, canoes, rugs, sculptures, jewelry and more. For the majority of the [families] who call me, they want to monetize, and I scrape out every nickel of the estate.

Why are estate sales important, especially in the African American communities?

Typically, in the Black community, we don’t know the value of different items, and a lot of the times, we throw valuable things away. So, it’s very important to make sure that somebody in the family is the keeper of the treasures, because these treasures that others may think are nothing, are extremely valuable. It is wealth building.

Who are some of the notable estate families that you’ve worked with in the past?

Some of the estates of note that we have done have been The Jessie Owens Estate (Olympic champion); Lerone Bennett, the 50 year editor of Ebony Magazine; and Martin Luther King Jr. attorney’s estate, the honorable Chaunsey Eskridge and in that estate, there were letters and telegram’s from Corretta Scott King. He also was the attorney for the honorable Elijah Muhammad and Cassius Clay. So, we’ve done some incredible estates, and we are always humbled and always honored to do them.

One of the estate sales you’re doing includes the estate of Claude A. Barnett and Etta Moton Barnett. Give us some context to who they were.

Claude A. Barnett was the founder of the Associated Negro Press (ANP). We have the Associated Press today, but he had to do the ANP because we weren’t getting any news coverage. If you come to the estate to look through the documents, you’ll see the difference. He typed up documents that showed how the AP was presenting us. Titles such as “Man kills woman over watermelon,” this is what the AP was writing. So, he corrected all of that. He traveled all over the world so that he could get some news to the United States so we could all know that we are important, that we are beautiful and we are doing things. If it were not for him, there would be no Ebony, or Jet magazines.

What type of artifacts were found at the Barnett’s estate?

Particularly, with the estate of Claude A. Barnett and Etta Moten Barnete, these are museum quality artifacts. So, it is important for people to know that family history runs deep in everybody’s family. You’ll find photographs, art, sculptures, a queen sized room full of St. John knits, sequence ensembles, bags [purses] – name a bag, it’s in there: Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, everything that we’re wearing today. You’ll also find Etta Moten’s jewelry, a lot of Christian Dior, a lot of gold, diamonds, Tiffany a lot of vintage and more.

For more information on McDaniel and her estate sales business, visit

Continue reading on the next page to view photos and artifacts from the Barnett’s estate.

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