Collage of plantation logbooks superimposed over photos of enslaved people.

A Racist Scientist Commissioned Photos of Enslaved People. One Descendant Wants to Reclaim Them.

There's no clear system in place to repatriate remains of captive Africans or objects associated with them.
An enslaved African American family or families posing in front of a wooden house on a plantation

10 Million Enslaved Americans' Names are Missing from History. AI is Helping Identify Them.

When journalist Dorothy Tucker first learned about the 10 Million Names genealogical project, it helped amplify memories of long car journeys to “Down South."
James Dent Walker.

A Major Group of Family Genealogists Apologizes For Past Racism

The National Genealogical Society is one of the oldest, largest groups dedicated to helping families trace their ancestries.
Statue of a man reading to children: the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial, Annapolis, Maryland.

Black Genealogy After Alex Haley’s Roots

"A lot has been hidden from Black Americans. And so there is always a longing to know who you are and where you come from.”
A former slave cabin, surrounded by tourists.

‘These Are Our Ancestors’: Descendants of Enslaved People Are Shifting Plantation Tourism

At three plantations in Charleston, S.C., Black descendants are connecting with their family’s history and helping reshape the narrative.
Photographs of Kim Lee Finger and Michelle Brooks

Two Women Researched Slavery in Their Family. They Didn’t See the Same Story.

Trying to learn more about a woman named Ann led her descendants to confront a painful past; ‘I just wanted to know the truth.’
Dennis Richmond Jr.

A Teenager Was Bullied. His Ancestors Saved Him.

Dennis Richmond Jr. was a middle-schooler who took refuge in his family history, some of it very surprising.
Photograph of a former slave interviewed by the Federal Writers' Projects

Stories of Slavery, From Those Who Survived It

The Federal Writers’ Project narratives provide an all-too-rare link to our past.
Depiction of a woman in a tree, looking down with a thoughtful expression.

Roots to Fruits

Meditations on when you think you found the people who owned your people via DNA test.
Lithograph of William Costin.

The Mount Vernon Slave Who Made Good: The Mystery of William Costin

David O. Stewart discusses the relationship between William Costin and the Washington bloodline.

How Has Failed African American Customers

The genealogy site fails to understand the fundamental differences between white and black history.
Illustration of birth certificate and coin necklace

Ghosts In My Blood

Regina Bradley searches for truths about her great-grandfather and his murder.

Who Should Own Photos of Slaves? The Descendants, not Harvard, a Lawsuit Says

A woman is suing the university over 169-year old photos of people she says are her ancestors.

Tales of African-American History Found in DNA

A study of African Americans' DNA may help researchers trace past events and develop medical breakthroughs.
Drawing of a woman standing with blurred people behind her and computer text boxes pointing to her face.

Cracking the Code

It's impossible for most black Americans to construct full family trees, but genetic testing can provide some clues.
Collage of Black woman and marriage certificate.

Why Is America Afraid of Black History?

No one should fear a history that asks a country to live up to its highest ideals.
Enslaved people working on South Carolina Plantation.

A Historian Complicates the Racial Divide

"African Founders" corrects some of the ideological uses of Black American history.
For most of her 74 years, Ruth Ann Hills took a certain innocent pride in her family’s story and its place in Staten Island history.  Generations of her family had resided in Mariners Harbor on the island’s North Shore. She and her brother David Thomas live in the house their grandfather built on Van Pelt Avenue. They had found Black ancestors on Staten Island as far back as the 1700s, and incredibly they had all eluded slavery.  Or so Hills thought.   All of that changed one day in 2021, when Hills received a visit from a filmmaker. Heather Quinlan was working on a documentary about a nearby graveyard. Over the course of her genealogical research, Quinlan had discovered that one of the people buried there was Hills’ great-great-great-grandfather.  Neither Hills nor Thomas had ever heard of the man, Benjamin Prine, but his death in 1900 at the age of 106 had been covered by the New York Times and the wire services. Prine, a U.S. veteran of the War of 1812, had been the last enslaved person born on Staten Island, Quinlan told them.  A photograph of a man, seated, holding a cane. The photograph has a long caption beneath, that is headlined "THEY CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME." Hills' and Thomas' great-great-great-grandfather, Benjamin Prine.  Staten Island Historical Society. Prine had once been enslaved by Peter Van Pelt, a highly influential Dutch Reformed Church minister – meaning that the street on which the siblings now live took its name from the same white family that enslaved their ancestor.  “I thought I was a big history buff. ‘Oh, I know about history,’” Hills said. “I guess I was naive.”  A crosswalk scene underneath two large street signs that both read "Van Pelt Av." The intersection of Van Pelt Avenue and Forest Avenue on Staten Island. Reece T. Williams/Gothamist

How the Remains of Formerly Enslaved People Came to Rest Beneath a Staten Island Strip Mall

Benjamin Prine's descendants didn’t know about their family ties – or their connection to his enslaver.
Various members of the Grimke family.

Bleeding Hearts and Blind Spots

What the story of the Grimke family tells us about race in the United States.
Four people gathered around gravesite praying together

Nearly ‘Erased by History’: African Americans Search for Lost Graves

Families and volunteers seek out and restore abandoned cemeteries as a way of recovering their own personal stories.