Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery

Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery

Title:Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780807835548
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:264 pages

After the Civil War, African Americans placed poignant "information wanted" advertisements in newspapers, searching for missing family members. Inspired by the power of these ads, Heather Andrea Williams uses slave narratives, letters, interviews, public records, and diaries to guide readers back to devastating moments of family separation during slavery when people were sold away from parents, siblings, spouses, and children. Williams explores the heartbreaking stories of separation and the long, usually unsuccessful journeys toward reunification. Examining the interior lives of the enslaved and freedpeople as they tried to come to terms with great loss, Williams grounds their grief, fear, anger, longing, frustration, and hope in the history of American slavery and the domestic slave trade.

Williams follows those who were separated, chronicles their searches, and documents the rare experience of reunion. She also explores the sympathy, indifference, hostility, or empathy expressed by whites about sundered black families. Williams shows how searches for family members in the post-Civil War era continue to reverberate in African American culture in the ongoing search for family history and connection across generations.


    Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery Reviews

  • Chrissie

    This book is a valuable documentation of the emotional sufferings of the African American people. As an historical recording of the past it is important. It puts down in writing what has been passed d...

  • Andre

    What a great and worthy contribution made by Heather Williams. She absolutely explodes the myth of uncaring, unfeeling, unemotional and detached African-Americans coming out of slavery. Inspired by "i...

  • Bensmomma

    Really brilliant and terrifically moving. The audio narrator is particularly warm and engaging....

  • Megan

    This is a heartbreaking work on the impact of family separation during slavery. For anyone concerned about the current practice of family separation in detention centers, this is a timely and necessar...

  • Sasha

    I shed a few tears the other day watching an interview with the author of this book I just finished reading it, and while I didn't cry, I was moved again and again by the stories of loss and longing. ...

  • Priscilla Herrington

    Williams has done extensive research in newspaper advertisements, diaries and letters to show the effects of slavery on African-American families. While the bulk of her primary sources date from the i...

  • Pghbekka

    Should be required reading as part of any U.S. History class....

  • Caroline

    This book focuses on one of the most inhuman and heart wrenching aspects of American slavery - the destruction of families through sale, the separation of husbands from wives, mothers from children, b...

  • Suzanne Moore

    These letters and ads placed in post Civil War newspapers and church bulletins show how loyalty and love can last a lifetime. I can only imagine how hopeless it must have felt to not remember or know ...

  • Margaret

    I enjoyed this book and learned quite a bit about the lives of slaves and the impact of having loved ones being ripped from each other. The aftermath of the Civil War also brought about a search for t...