In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery

In 1850, the elderly master of a South Carolina estate took pen in hand and painstakingly divided up his possessions. Among the spinning wheels, scythes, tablecloths and cattle that he bequeathed to his far-flung heirs was a 6-year-old slave girl valued soon afterward at $475. In his will, she is described simply as the “negro girl Melvinia.” After his death, she was torn away from the people and places she knew and shipped to Georgia. While she was still a teenager, a white man would father her first-born son under circumstances lost in the passage of time. Read More … [Read more...]

South Carolina African American Historical Records to be Published Online

Lowcountry Africana, and The South Carolina Department of Archives and History today announced plans to digitize and publish freely online more than 25,000 historic documents of interest to researchers of African American genealogy and history. Under the new agreement, Colonial and Charleston, South Carolina estate inventories dated 1732-1867 will be digitized and indexed in detail, including the names of more than 30,000 slaves. Inventories of estates in early South Carolina probate records often listed slaves in family groupings. They also detail the material possessions so important for … [Read more...]