Blog Archives

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

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

Tarzan Carried a Message

On 1 March, performer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte celebrated his 88th birthday. On 8 November last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Belafonte with its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award … and honored with an Oscar the man’s long

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Posted in Legacies of Slavery, Racism & Injustice

Redrawing A Community – A Washington Descendant’s Journey

In 2010, an archive of rare documents passed down in my family for over 250 years arrived at my home in Austin. Reading them I came face to face with my family’s role in both creating democracy and denying freedom.

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Posted in Linked Descendants

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

Who Are “Linked Descendants”?

 … (T)he great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.  It could scarcely be otherwise, since

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Posted in Healing, Repair & Action, Legacies of Slavery, Racism & Injustice