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, 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.



Recreated & Relabeled

When did slavery in America end?

Just months ago I would’ve given a quick answer to that question. In my ignorance I certainly wouldn’t have known the date off the top of my head, and if I were able to do a quick Google search under the table without you knowing, I’d eventually come back with 1865.

“Yes, 1865, when the 13th Amendment was put into play.”

But today if we were having that conversation, I would hesitate a lot more, and I’d probably respond with some kind of hat-tip to the loaded nature of your question. After some conversation and back and forth, eventually, I’d just flat out tell you IT NEVER ENDED; that through the years slavery has just been recreated and relabeled in different forms.

Hopefully we’d still be talking.

Quite frankly, I’m hoping you’re still reading.

For me, I’ve grown up and lived with a lot of assumptions. But those assumptions have proven to be misrepresentations, and they have now in turn transformed into convictions deep in my soul. You know as well as I do- when a conviction is embedded deep enough inside you, you just have to share it. Even if nobody will listen.

Some have asked why I’m writing these posts. They think I’m trying to convince them of something. I’m really not.

In fact I think the following quote is most accurate to my heart in these posts:

“Sometimes I speak up because I think it might actually change the world. Other times, I speak up simply to keep the world from changing me.”

I know we’re only a couple days into this month, but I appreciate you taking this journey with me. Please keep reading. The posts coming up are about to get even darker, but we must remember the wrongs of our past lest we repeat them in our future.



Poem: Bury Me In A Free Land

This poem was written in 1854 by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, a journalist, activist, underground railroad host, and anti-lynching crusader.