Many Resources Available For Tracking Slave Ancestors

African-Americans have been celebrating their heritage throughout February as a part of Black History Month. For those who have shied away from searching for their slave ancestors because they've heard how difficult it is, this month of celebration is a good time to meet the challenge. Read More … [Read more...]

Canada still a land of hope & freedom

I COULD feel ghosts swirling through the cold December air. In front of me was the modest grave of John Freeman Walls, a former slave who had escaped to Canada. Almost two centuries later, his great-great-grandson, Bryan Walls, a retired dentist, was standing next to me telling a story far too incredible to be fiction. Read More … [Read more...]

Former student shares story of royal ancestry

Artemus Gaye knew he descended from slaves, but it took a civil war in his native Liberia, eight trips to Mississippi and years of research to discover he is also descended from royalty. Read More … [Read more...]

Southern Indiana woman is on a mission to identify unmarked African-American cemeteries

In her hands are dowsing rods; in her coat pocket are a screwdriver, wooden craft sticks and a red and a blue pen. The red pen is to mark female graves, the blue is for male graves. The sticks are to mark the graves, the screwdriver is used to dig the holes to put the sticks in. The dowsing rods, two L-shaped metal rods, are the tools used to find the graves. Read More … [Read more...]

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...]