Archives for January 2008

Family wrestles slave-trade past

Keila DePoorter, a descendant of the largest slave-trading dynasty in American history, battled violent emotions during her journey to the slave dungeons in Ghana on Africa's west coast. Five small cells once held 1,300 people, chained and without ventilation, lying in their own human waste. "I felt horror and rage at the atrocity of what was done to these human beings," said DePoorter, who lives with her husband in Superior in a remote and peaceful home in the shadows of the Flatirons. Read More … [Read more...]

Slavery’s legacy

A Tucson man descended from what's believed to be the largest slave-trading dynasty in U.S. history is featured in a documentary about his ancestors that premieres Monday at the Sundance Film Festival. The release of the film, "Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North," coincides with the 200th anniversary of abolition of the U.S. slave trade, as well as with celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Read More … [Read more...]

Antebellum Town a Record of Black Experience

While many African-American communities in the South dissolved after the Civil War, the residents of Flat Rock, Ga., clung to the land of their ancestors. Today, the town is working to preserve its history as a rare, surviving example of the black experience. Flat Rock, just east of Atlanta, was established in antebellum times. It appeared on maps in the early 1800s but was removed after the Civil War. Still, it survived. Read More … [Read more...]

PBS Celebrates Black History Month With a Slate of Special Programming

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- PBS broadcasts programming created by and about African Americans year-round, from dramato public affairs to history to independent film. In celebration of Black History Month, February 2007, PBS will broadcast a lineup of new and encorepresentations honoring and exploring African-American history. NOVA "Forgotten Genius" tells the story of one of the great African-American scientists of the 20th century -- Percy Julian. INDEPENDENT LENS "Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life" profiles Duke Ellington's co-composer, arranger and right-hand … [Read more...]

Cathy’s family secrets

WHEN Cathy Freeman had "cos I'm free" tattooed on her arm, she meant it as a bold statement about love and identity. But the words took on a deeper meaning when the Olympic gold medallist unearthed her ancestors' hardships after she participated in the new SBS series, Who Do You Think You Are? Read More … [Read more...]

Searching for slave ancestors requires a strategy

Searching for a slave ancestor in the antebellum South involves finding and identifying the slave owner, but where to start? Although it can seem like a “needle in a haystack” kind of search, it can be approached logically and systematically. One strategy is to locate your freed slave ancestor on the 1870 census. The chances are good that this family member stayed close to the home plantation after being freed. Read More … [Read more...]

Selma woman tracks heritage to slavery, shares knowledge

Ten years ago, Millie Lee Dulaney fulfilled her mother's last request and buried her in Alabama red dirt in the overgrown Wilcox County cemetery where her mother's mother and sister lay.As Dulaney looked around at the weeds around the graves of her ancestors, she knelt down and gathered some of that red clay and put it in a heart-shaped crystal bowl that she would take with her back to the West Coast. The act was the beginning of a quest that eventually brought her back home to Alabama after most of a lifetime spent away. Read More … [Read more...]

Paris tours look at city’s ties with black Americans

Any American with even a slight familiarity with Paris knows about Josephine Baker, the black swivel-hipped cabaret entertainer who shunned racism in America, vaulted to stardom here in 1925, and stayed on to become one of France's most adored 20th century icons. But what about William Wells Brown, the 19th-century former slave turned abolitionist who once expressed awe that he could pray next to whites at La Madeleine church, or that some tipped their hat to him on Paris streets? <a href=""> Read More </a> … [Read more...]

Black heritage in Hawaii

The influence of African Americans is not an aspect of Hawaii's history that has attracted much, if any, attention. But filmmakers Edgy Lee and Don Brown intend to change that with "Exit to Paradise," a one-hour documentary they hope to complete by summer. Records indicate that the first black person arrived in Hawaii in 1796. As more came to the islands on whaling ships, many stayed and intermarried with local residents -- leaving generations of islanders with African-American roots they might not even know about. <a href=""> … [Read more...]

Web 2.0 genealogy site aims to become ‘digital scrapbook’

Genealogy networking site, has today announced they want to become a "digital scrapbook" for families. To do this, have launched two new features, Timelines and Family News. Geni's CEO David Sacks says, "The most important events in people's lives involve family. The benefits and workload of memorializing these events should be distributed among family members. Geni will introduce a Family Timeline that rolls up the individual timelines of family members thus creating a digital family scrapbook." Read More … [Read more...]