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Who are your ancestors. Be honest.

Alison Bailey, Bloomington, IL. Yes. I’ve been able to find out who my 3d greatgrandmother is until recently. She was the bastard child of Joseph C. Van Mater, or “Big Joe,” as he was called. The Van Mater family were early settlers in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Big Joe was the largest slave holder north […]

Underpaid? Overworked? Frustrated? NOW imagine slavery.

John Leo, Sag Harbor, NY. This may be redundant since the release of and discussion about Twelve Years a Slave, but for many years I’ve seen and heard people complain about bosses and working conditions and I’ve empathized. But I’ve also reflected on how these modern days woes compare to SLAVERY. Being the property of […]

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I’m More than, Less than Accepted

Nicole Reynolds, Virginia Beach, VA. Race often goes hand and hand with self worth. Who am I in the world? What does that answer mean? How does it affect my life? Is there anything I can do to change that? I have Ugandan Blood, Taino Blood, Spanish Blood, Past African American Slave blood. What race […]

Our slave’s daughter sent me an email.

William Kincaid, St. Louis, MO. I use some literary license in choosing the word “daughter”. She is actually the great-great-granddaughter of one of my family’s former slaves, if you want to get technical about it. But a six word statement is no place to get technical. Regardless there are not enough words to express how […]

Feeling Conflicted about my family history

Romaine Martin II, Richmond, VA. I Think Ancestry.com is very therapeutic. You can spend hours researching your family’s cold cases. One bit of information I found out left me feeling unsure of how to feel at all. “Green Gore was born, in 1816, the son of Robert Gore (1783 – 1870/1880) and Tomsey Jarrel,(1778 – […]

African-American, no. American whose’s black, yes!

Vanessa Minneapolis, MN I HATE the term African-American. I don’t hold citizenship to any country on the African continent so why do people feel the need to call me that. I’m the descendent of people who were forcible sold and brought to the country, raped, beaten, and denied personhood and their rights. They slaved and […]

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Name of cemetery doesn’t change history

Lonna Jo Bowen-AlMoctar, Louisville, KY. I am from a clan of hillbillies in Eastern Kentucky. My family has a swath of land, called Bowen Farms, near Red River Gorge. As long as I can remember, the old cemetery on my family’s land has been called the “slave cemetery”. My Uncle has always kept up with […]

From a white teenage girl’s perspective

Victoria N. Fortson, GA My ancestors came to America just like many others. Just because I am white, does not mean my family “owned” “slaves”. When an African American girl says to me “you’re so lucky to have that hair” or “I would pay a lot for some of your hair”, it makes me mad. […]

“I wish I had my n*****-shooter”

Julian Riggs Smith Durham, NH Growing up in a little town in Louisiana during the Second Word War, I found nothing strange about the fact that my white grandparents often ate breakfast and lunch at the kitchen table kitchen with ‘Stell, their black cook, and John, her husband–and that John and ‘Stell never ate with […]

White Baby Boomer Low Wage Slave.

Skyler Crane Oceanside, CA There is a small splash of African in my ancestry, never talked about, though obvious in physical traits of many of my relatives, Why I give my Race Card sentence is that born a baby boomer to low, very low, middle class WASP parents, i was not given or alerted to […]

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My ancestor’s slave’s ancestor contacted me

Richard Reed Watts, Burke, VA. As a boy, me and my brother would disappear upstairs at our grandparent’s house, exploring for hours everything we could get our hands on. It was dark and smelled old and dusty and it was wonderfully beautiful. I remember distinctly coming across the old fragile parchment that was a list […]

Every Race Has Been A Slave

Jimmy Naughton Colorado Springs, CO Why does any race deserve restitution for their hardships? Every race has been enslaved, yet today’s discussions only ever focus on the Atlantic Slave Trade, i.e., the black slave. Hell, the Irish slaves were more plentiful in the English Empire, they were cheaper and treated far worse since they were […]

Black folks: please forgive white ancestors!

Linda Robinson Philadelphia, PA All of us are shaped by the culture and historical period in which we developed as children. That culture almost becomes a part of our DNA – it’s that imbedded in us. The white slave-traders of centuries ago in Africa were shaped by the cultural idea that dark-skinned peoples of Africa […]

Topic: slavery. All eyes on Brooke

Daniel Portland, OR I grew up in a working-class and ever-so-slightly diverse part of a very white city, but I the bus across town with two dozen others to school K-12. As I grow older I sometimes recall classroom memories that make my current self uncomfortable. In 7th grade social studies we discussed slavery, and […]