Montpelier Slave Descendants Meet

There’s an unusual reunion planned this weekend at the home of James and Dolly Madison.  About forty descendants of slaves will visit from around the nation to help administrators tell the story of enslaved families at Montpelier. Slaves were the first people to live at Montpelier – clearing the land and building a house in 1723.  Over the next eighty years, the population of enslaved people would rise to 120, yet Education Director Christian Cotz says you wouldn’t know they were there. “What we see today when we drive up the driveway is that … [Read more...]

South Louisiana researcher seeks to preserve records of the slavery era

It is impossible for descendants of African-American slaves to research their family history without encountering the harsh reality their ancestors experienced, a local researcher said. For instance, looking through the kinds of records others might consult when doing genealogy work — such as birth and death certificates, newspaper obituaries and the like — may offer little help. That's because during the time the institution was in place, slaves were considered property under the law, said Patricia Whitney, executive director of the Bayou History … [Read more...]