Vanderbilt Group Preserves Deteriorating Slave Records

There are thousands of pages of names, places and people that are disappearing by the second. "Right as we're talking, we're losing things," said Vanderbilt history professor Jane Landers who has been working to stop it for a decade. "As if it's a broken piece of pottery and you have to put things back together." Landers and her team have been to country after country photographing every page they're allowed to. Many come from churches, and are possibly the only way to track slaves brought to Central and South America from Africa. Read More … [Read more...]

Tale of forbidden love preserved by historical marker in San Jacinto County

A fascinating love story is behind the latest historical marker that has been dedicated in San Jacinto County, a fitting occasion to mark the 50th anniversary of the current Official Texas Historical Marker program. It’s the story of William “Bill” Kelley, a white man, former slave plantation overseer and confederate soldier, and Dinah Rush, described as a “mulatto” freed slave. In spite of their differences, this unlikely pair withstood hardship, racism, and a world that would never accept their relationship. Read More … [Read more...]

Woman reclaims neglected slave cemetery from Sanford woods

A small band of volunteers is working to restore a Lee County cemetery that dates to the early 1800s and contains the graves of hundreds of slaves. The burial ground, near the Buffalo Presbyterian Church on Carthage Street, had fallen into disrepair in recent decades and was gradually overtaken by ivy and a pine forest. "It just hurt my heart," said Lisa Martin Sanders, who stumbled upon the cemetery last April. Sanders and her aunt were looking for the grave of W.B. Wicker, who founded a school in Sanford many years ago. They wandered the area for a couple hours before peering into … [Read more...]

Halifax County woman makes connection to ancestors

Many African-Americans living in Halifax County today are descendents of slaves, but most have a hard time tracing their family’s history. The institution of slavery disconnected many African-Americans from their heritage leaving descendents to wonder where they came from and who are their ancestors. County resident Margaret Sutphin Waajid, who lives on Sutphin Road in South Boston, doesn’t have to wonder about her lineage any more. After many years of researching her family’s history, Waajid has made a connection to many of her ancestors. Read More … [Read more...]

‘Listen To The Ancestors’ For African-American History Month

Judith Collins has a secret. She “listens to the ancestors,” an instinct that has helped this African-American woman from San Leandro trace her lineage back eight generations, to before the abolition of slavery. “The ancestors lead you to every avenue because they want to be remembered, they don’t want to be forgotten,” Collins said. As African American History Month gets underway, her experience illustrates how families can unravel the stories of their pasts. Read More … [Read more...]

Slave database coming to Hampton History Museum

An online database created by the Virginia Historical Society now includes close to 3,500 documents that outline the murky details of thousands of slaves who lived in and around Virginia. Last month, the Richmond-based organization launched the database detailing the biographical data of enslaved Virginians, some of which includes family relationships, occupations and life dates. Lauranett L. Lee, curator of African history for the Virginia Historical Society, will host a workshop on Monday, Feb. 6 at the Hampton History Museum to teach attendees about the database and its uses. Read … [Read more...]

Don Lemon: Legacy of ‘one drop’ rule inspires search for family history

You never know from where inspiration will come. I am often envious of my friends who can recite stories about ancestors that have been handed down through generations. I can't do that. As a descendant of slavery in America, that hasn't felt possible for me. Truthfully, I didn't think about it much until a few weeks ago, after I was asked by CNN's In America team to write about the impact of a mixed racial background on my life, the idea that "one drop" of black blood makes you black. In that article, I wrote about how my aunt and grandmother in Louisiana often were mistaken for white. I … [Read more...]

Caribbean genealogy library offers a window into the past

In a clean and bright room on St. Thomas, buried treasure is waiting to be found. The Caribbean Genealogy Library, founded in 2000, holds a treasure trove of historical documents to help Virgin Islanders trace their family trees. Loaded with resources and knowledgeable volunteers passionate about research, the tiny nonprofit library is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean region - and people travel from across the globe to use its valuable resource. "We get a lot of inquiries from around the world, people who are finding they had ties to the Virgin Islands," library President Rob … [Read more...]

Q-Tip Gets Swabbed & Discovers His African Roots

A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip tests his DNA to trace back his African ancestral roots. … [Read more...]

UK basketball star Valerie Still authors book about her family’s history

More than 150 years before University of Kentucky basketball star Valerie Still and her brother, Art Still, an All-American football standout, were on campus, their ancestors lived and worked in the vicinity as slaves. The information came as a surprise to Valerie Still, the New Jersey native who is the UK women's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. And it enticed her to explore more about her family, which has a rich history in America dating back to the 1700s. Read more … [Read more...]