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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

[South East] Were Your Ancestors Slaves?

February 6, 2008

Were Your Ancestors Slaves?
An African American Genealogy Workshop


The National Archives, Southeast Region, will present a free workshop on locating family history information for African Americans whose ancestors were slaves.

The featured speaker for the event is distinguished author Alan Huffman. Huffman is the author of Mississippi in Africa in which he recounts the saga of freed Mississippi slaves who sailed to Liberia in the 1800s to become part of a new American-African colony. He will discuss his research techniques and his quest to uncover the details of the story. Who were the slaves? What really happened to them? Are the stories which have circulated about them true? Through research, interviews and at times edgy travelogue, his book reveals a telling human drama that spans two centuries and two continents and culminates with Liberia's recent civil war.

When the book was first published, it received acclaim by numerous reviewers including the following:

"A superior historical and journalistic investigation, tracing the lives and legacies of freed slaves in American and Africa* Thought-provoking and expertly told - and a most promising debut."- Kirkus Review

"A great story. In the journey from Mississippi to Liberia, Huffman has uncovered a fascinating tale that's spent too long in obscurity." - San Francisco Chronicle (Best Books of 2004)

"Huffman is a patient, confident storyteller who lingers over the details until they come to life* With Mississippi in Africa, as with Edward Ball's Slaves in the Family, one I reminded that inside every one of us lives all the drama, irony, and cataclysm of history." The Boston Globe

Huffman is also the author of the photo-essay book Ten Point: Deer Camp in the Mississippi Delta. He has contributed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; The Los Angeles Times; Lost; National Wildlife; The New York Times; Outside; The Oxford American; The Washington Post Magazine; Preservation; Smithsonian; and numerous other publications. He lives near Bolton, Mississippi, where he is working on another nonfiction book.

The workshop will also include sessions by National Archives staff on original documents in the National Archives that list slaves as passengers on vessels; documents related to the importation of slaves, primarily from Africa in violation of Federal laws; and lists of slaves available in other sources.

The process of locating genealogical records on African Americans in the pre-Civil War period is extremely difficult and tedious. The documentation is scattered throughout a variety of government records, and the lack of last names complicates the process. This workshop will give African Americans ideas and suggestions about places to look and resources available.

A special feature will be a display of original records listing the names of slaves as passengers on ships, living on plantations, and in various other original records--some of which date from the early 1800s.

At 1:00 p.m., the National Archives Southeast Region proudly hosts The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' (LDS) eighth annual celebration of Black Family History Day. This program presents genealogical information on researching African American ancestors and writing family histories. Attendees will receive a packet of materials that will include a copy of the Freedman Bank's CD - released in 2001 through the efforts of the LDS Church. The original records of the Freedman's Bank are housed at the National Archives facility in College Park, Md., and are available on microfilm at College Park, the National Archives Building in Washington DC. and at regional NARA facilities. During the afternoon session, the LDS Church also will honor Morehouse School of Medicine, Morehouse College, and Hosea Feed the Hungry for their positive leadership roles within Atlanta's black communities.

National Archives
Southeast Region
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Alan Huffman and National Archives presentations 10:00 - 12:00
LDS Black Family History Day 12:00 - 4:00

Call 770-968-2100 to register. All sessions are free and open to the public.


Mary Evelyn Tomlin
Public Programs Specialist
National Archives Southeast Region
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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