Understanding History: African-American Burial Traditions

Cemeteries are a treasure trove of historic information. Names, dates, relationships, professions, property can all be gleaned by studying the gravestones and death records of those who lived long ago. But what about historic African-American … [Continue reading...]

My granddad, the Bengali peddler: An African-American writer finds her roots

In 1896, almost a century before Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala caused a stir by daring to show a romance between a black man and an Indian woman in the American South, a Muslim Bengali peddler from Hooghly married a black Catholic woman from New … [Continue reading...]

Fordham to Launch Burial Database Project of Enslaved African Americans

They lie underground, often with no marks to identify them. They’re often interred in out-of-the-way places, hidden from the public. In some cases, their neighbors are the ones they were forced to call “master.” They are deceased American slaves. … [Continue reading...]

African-American repatriates tribal treasures through eBay diplomacy

When family researcher William Holland flies back to his ancestral homeland in Cameroon next week, he'll be bearing gifts: ceremonial masks that were taken out of Africa decades ago, purchased by Holland in online auctions, and now destined to be … [Continue reading...]

African-American descendants sue to save Revilletown cemetery

Former residents of Revilletown—an African-American community torn down 25 years ago in Iberville Parish—are trying to preserve a cemetery founded by ancestors there in 1874. The cemetery, started by ex-slaves, is now within the grounds of a … [Continue reading...]

Forgotten graves at University of Virginia likely belonged to black slaves

A piece of black colonial history may have been unearthed after a hidden grave site was discovered adjacent to the University of Virginia campus. Sixty-seven unmarked graves were found during the university’s cemetery expansion project and … [Continue reading...]

University of Kansas showcases historic black photography online

The Leon K. Hughes Photograph Collection is a chronicle of African American family and community life in Wichita, Kansas from the late 1940s through the 1970s.  During these decades, the arrival of newcomers from nearby states and the South increased … [Continue reading...]

Historic slave cemetery artifacts returned to James City

When Ben A. Watford and Earl Mills recently went to Eastern Carolina University to get duplicates of some artifacts from a slave cemetery in James City, they got much more than they asked for. Watford, who is co-chair of the James City Historical … [Continue reading...]

Asheville’s Sasha Mitchell helps families find their roots

Sasha Mitchell was a fourth-grader in New Jersey when her class did a family history project and she innocently contributed photos of her white mother and African-American father. The response from some of her classmates was immediate and … [Continue reading...]

African American history buried in unusual places

Katie Brown Bennett was whirling through reel after reel of microfilm when she found her great-great-grandfather Squire Cheshier. It was not a birth certificate that genealogists love to get their hands on. It was an 1843 bill of … [Continue reading...]