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Is Genealogy Racist?

Image calls attention to a Resource Guide for White People in the study of 'Genealogy and Anti-racism.'

“Is genealogy racist?” I typed into the search engine.

I had just received results from an ancestry DNA test. No surprises there — 99.9% northwestern European genetic heritage. I immediately wondered how many neo-Nazis use DNA tests to reinforce racism and claim racial purity.

As I typed my question in to the search engine that day, I was excited to find Coming to the Table. But it didn’t seem to apply to me. I come from a lower middle-class background: my ancestors were preachers, teachers, and laborers. None of my ancestors were slaveholders!

I later learned that I was wrong. Months later, once I knew where and how to look, I did discover slaveholding ancestors — among my working-class northern ancestors! But I didn’t make that discovery that day.

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Posted in Healing, Repair & Action, Legacies of Slavery, Racism & Injustice, Research & Oral History Methods

Gathering African American Families’ Oral Histories – The Getting Word Project: African American Stories from Monticello – Part Three of Three

Part 3 concludes this blog series on conducting oral history research through the story of the Getting Word project. If you want to know more about the project and the historians, you can find it on the Getting Word web

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Posted in Research & Oral History Methods, Slavery

Gathering African American Families’ Oral Histories – The Getting Word Project: African American Stories from Monticello – Part Two of Three

Part 2 of the Oral History post describes the kinds of impacts that oral history research can have, regardless of the circumstances of the family whose history is being woven together. The Getting Word project’s impacts and aftermaths are an

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Posted in Healing, Repair & Action, Research & Oral History Methods

Gathering African American Families’ Oral Histories – The Getting Word Project: African American Stories from Monticello – Part One of Three

So many of us want to know our ancestors’ stories and find out more about where we’ve come from. DNA research has advanced our ability to find and learn about our family members to an extraordinary extent, but family stories

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Posted in Research & Oral History Methods, Slavery

Science May Enable Reparations

Reviewing a Book Review A few days ago, I got an email from a friend who has become a leader in the field of researching African American family histories, up to and beyond the “brick walls” of slave lists that

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Posted in Healing, Repair & Action, Research & Oral History Methods

BLACK RUG/WHITE RUG; A DIALOGUE AMONG THREE LINKED ANCESTORS

By Joyceann Gray, Sarah Brown and Monique Hopkins Joyceann Gray, Monique Crippen-Hopkins and Sarah Brown are “linked through slavery”. Joyceann and Monique’s ancestors were enslaved by Sarah’s ancestors, the Washington family. When Sarah published her most recent post, about her

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Posted in Contact, Connection, Relationship, Discovery & Impact, Healing, Repair & Action, Historic People & Places, Individual, Family & Linked Descendant Stories, Legacies of Slavery, Racism & Injustice, Research & Oral History Methods

Another “Our Black Ancestry” Miracle!

A couple of weeks ago, Sharon Morgan emailed me to let me know that someone had posted information on her Our Black Ancestry website that linked my slave owning Furman ancestors to the writer’s enslaved ancestors.  This was totally out of

Posted in Contact, Connection, Relationship, Individual, Family & Linked Descendant Stories, Legacies of Slavery, Racism & Injustice, Research & Oral History Methods

Linked Through Slavery–The Last Furman Slave Owner

This is the final post in my series of three on the connection of my father’s family to slavery —a 110-year legacy— and my search for African American descendants whose ancestors toiled on my family’s plantations in South Carolina. This

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Posted in Contact, Connection, Relationship, Historic People & Places, Individual, Family & Linked Descendant Stories, Legacies of Slavery, Racism & Injustice, Research & Oral History Methods

Linking through the Internet: A Miracle

My internet connection had been down all day.  I was beginning to get very perturbed—for a lot of reasons.  One was that author and genealogist Sharon Morgan was going to help me scour the internet to look for possible linked

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Posted in Contact, Connection, Relationship, Individual, Family & Linked Descendant Stories, Research & Oral History Methods, Research Experiences

Moved to Tears

When I read Gayle Jessup White’s essay in a recent post on “The Root,” I had such strong identification with it that I was moved to tears: Like most African Americans, oral history is my primary source for deep family

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Posted in Research & Oral History Methods, Slavery