Found – And Lost: 1786 Slaves’ Freedom Site Discovered, Now Doomed by Developer

Black history is again bittersweet in this old Hudson River city. On May 1, 1786, seventy-six years before the Emancipation Proclamation, the very first liberation law of its kind in America was passed. It freed a tiny number of slaves in an act of freedom of earth-shattering importance. Now, a further startling discovery has been made. Read More … [Read more...]

Some Americans Directly Confronting Legacy of Slavery

Woodstock, Virginia, resident Phoebe Kilby suspected there was a connection between her white family and the black Kilbys who lived in nearby Front Royal. After confirming through research that her family had once owned the ancestors of the Front Royal Kilbys as slaves, she decided to make contact with Betty Kilby, an African American, and begin a dialogue as a way of personally addressing what some describe as America’s original sin: African slavery. Read More … [Read more...]

Forks marks 176th anniversary

April 27 marks the 176th anniversary of Natchez's ordinance causing enslavement traders to relocate at Forks of the Road. The ordinance made it illegal for “Negro traders” to sell Negroes within the corporate limits of the city after April 27, 1833. Thereby, “Negro trading” was concentrated at the Forks of the Road beginning April 27, 1833. Read More … [Read more...]

History in black and white

Chris Haley has always been interested in genealogy. But at least when it came to his father's side of the family, he figured things were pretty much covered thanks to his uncle, "Roots" author Alex Haley. "It had been done," Chris, 46, said last week. "What would I prove that hadn't been proved before?" How wrong he was. Read More … [Read more...]

Genealogists at mercy of information pirates

In a perfect world, everyone would be honest, bad things wouldn't happen to good people and private genealogy research wouldn't be spread across the Internet without permission. But the world isn't perfect and some genealogists have been stung by a cruel hornet. Read More … [Read more...]

Up Close: Tangled Roots

You hope for a surprise or two when you map your genealogy: an exiled count, perhaps, or a plank-walking pirate. But when journalist David Wilson, 32, began to trace his roots six years ago, what he found was even more intriguing. As his project moved backward from Newark, New Jersey, to North Carolina and Virginia and finally to Ghana, where his ancestors were put on a slave ship bound for America, he discovered not only his family's slave master but also their modern-day descendants. Read More … [Read more...]

Examining Michelle Obama’s Lowcountry roots

Tiny fingers stitched a quilt Wednesday morning in a Georgetown elementary school up the South Carolina coastline. But they were actually piecing together something much larger, something that seems too big to be true. Their "story quilt" depicts First Lady Michelle Obama's family journey from a Lowcountry slave shack to the White House. Her Georgetown County roots are now bringing worldwide attention to the unique story the Lowcountry has to tell. Read More … [Read more...]

LIFE Magazine Presents: Never-Before-Published Photos From Memphis, April 4, 1968

On April 4, 1968, LIFE photographer Henry Groskinsky and writer Mike Silva, on assignment in Alabama, learned that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. They raced to the scene and there, incredibly, had unfettered access to the hotel grounds, Dr. King's room, and the surrounding area. For reasons that have been lost in the intervening years, the photographs taken that night and the next day were never published. Until now. Visit Martin Luther KIng - LIFE EXCLUSIVE! The Day MLK Died … [Read more...]

Black and white branches of McCain family tree share stories in Flint

It was a powerful image, one that told the centuries-old tale of a family with two races and one name. On a platform at Mott Community College on Tuesday night, two cousins -- a black woman wearing a cotton-picking sack and a white man looking quite like his famous brother -- were laughing with their arms around each other. Read More … [Read more...]

Archaeologist: Graves ‘always significant’

Archaeologist Carter Hudgins was scraping around in the dirt outside Drayton Hall's old slave cemetery last fall, checking out the ground where they planned to put up a marker, when he ran into a surprise. About 3 inches down, he found dark stains shaped like rectangles, 6 feet long and 2 feet wide. There were five of them, all aligned from east to west. They were graves of slaves or their descendants. Read More … [Read more...]