Family confronts the North's slave-trading past
"The first shock was as if finding out for the first time the horror of being descended from slave traders," she says. "But within moments, I realized I already knew, and yet had completely buried it."
It was that second shock of recognizing her own "amnesia" that spurred Ms. Browne to dig into the history further, and the surprises continued. The DeWolfs, she learned, created a wealthy dynasty that became the largest slave-trading family in early America. She assumed those forebears were an exception, but found they were part of a broad pattern of Northern participation in slavery.
To explore what that participation meant for her family and the country, Browne contacted all the relatives she could identify, inviting them to travel their ancestors' trade route from Bristol to Africa and the Caribbean. Nine other DeWolf descendants signed on, and last week, a documentary of their journey produced by Browne premièred at the Sundance Film Festival. "Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North" was purchased by PBS and will be shown as part of its Point of View (P.O.V.) series.
comments powered by Disqus
- Richard III Really Ate and Drank Like a King
- Where’s the one place in the world where nobody’s messed with WW II relics?
- Secrets of the Clinton Library
- Beloit College is out with its annual list of what freshman know ... Tiny Tim? Carl Sagan? Forget about it.
- India Bans Indira Gandhi Assassination Film
- A prominent historian of science dies and no one takes notice
- A pro-Hamas Left emerges among historians, complains Jeffrey Herf
- Classicist Mary Beard celebrated by the New Yorker as “The Troll Slayer”
- Ilan Pappé praised in Iran as a "prominent anti-Zionist Israeli historian and intellectual"
- It's hard to be an optimist today, but Juan Cole is