During the course of America’s painful and mournful history with slavery, against their will (as most things were… sigh), mothers and fathers were separated from their children, wives were snatched from the arms of their husbands, and siblings said goodbye to siblings… wondering if they’d all ever see one another again. Humans traded as property, from owner to owner, plantation to plantation. Again and again and again.
Have you ever thought about what happened to the now-freed families AFTER Emancipation?
Until I stumbled upon InformationWanted.org, I hadn’t.
This beautiful project coming out of Villanova University has given names to the individuals on an often life-long quest to find their freed loved ones. On the site, copies of actual ads placed in newspapers in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s are posted. Each ad is concise and to the point, but it’s hard to read them without feeling the emotions of desperation, longing, and loss.
I encourage all to check this site out.
(You can even help transcribe the ads as they’re placed on the site to aid in further genealogical research.)
It’s important for us to remember another crushing impact of our dark history of oppression and injustice against people of color.
May we see their humanity by saying their names, and may we stay ever vigilant today as slavery continues to reinvent itself under new labels and clever packaging.