Blog Archives

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 Slavery & its legacies

Amazing grace

People ask what drew me to write a biography of Lillian Carter, mother of President Jimmy Carter (Lillian Carter: A Compassionate Life, McFarland & Company, 2014) Aside from the obvious—who wouldn’t want to write about the life of America’s sassiest

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Posted in Linked Descendants, Slavery & its legacies

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

Looking for Links: First Steps

Introduction This is the first of three posts about my initial efforts to identify linked descendants connected to my slave-owning ancestors on my father’s side of the family in South Carolina.  These ancestors are Wood Furman (1712 – 1783), Richard

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, Healing, repair & action, History & culture: people, places & events, Linked Descendants

Part I: Facing Slavery and Finding Amanda

This post is the first of three pieces on 1) how I discovered slavery in my heritage, specifically focusing on a woman named Amanda owned by my ancestor Thomas Jackson and his second wife Courtney Robertson; 2) what more that official

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, History & culture: people, places & events, Linked Descendants

Up in Smoke: Slavery Researchers Decry Burning of Historical Records

New Post Posted on January 10, 2014 by psmith30 (Post first written on January 4, 2014) I am fighting back tears and my stomach is in knots. Most people probably wouldn’t have a physical reaction like this upon learning that 100

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, Slavery & its legacies

Bittersweet Memories

When I was a small child, there was an old woman I remember seeing when we visited my grandfather’s house on the Southside of Chicago. She was extremely quiet, very tall (although slumped with age), with light brown skin and

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Posted in Linked Descendants

Being Linked Through Slavery Means …

Being a “linked descendant” puts racism and white privilege in a harsh light for me.  It makes speaking out honestly about the legacy of slavery a personal and family imperative. I always knew that my mother’s ancestral roots went back

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Posted in Linked Descendants, Slavery & its legacies

Remembering their names

When I joined Coming To The Table over two years ago, I began a journey—a journey into the lives and times of my slave-holding ancestors and, most important for me, into the lives of the people they had enslaved. Taken

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Posted in History & culture: people, places & events, Linked Descendants
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