Ask the Filmmaker: Traces of the Trade’s Katrina Browne

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Katrina BrowneWhen Katrina Browne discovered that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history, she embarked on a journey with nine fellow descendants to retrace the Triangle Trade, from Rhode Island to Ghana to Cuba and back. They uncover the vast extent of Northern complicity in slavery while also stumbling through the minefield of contemporary race relations. Traces of the Trade, airing on Tuesday, June 24th (check your local listings), is Katrina’s spellbinding account of that journey.
In our interview with Katrina for the Traces of the Trade POV website, we asked her why she decided to embark on this journey. Katrina says:

Everywhere I go, I ask people to raise their hand if they knew about the role of the North in slavery, and people don’t raise their hands. More black Americans know about it than white Americans, but overall, we have such a mythology in this country that the South was solely responsible for slavery. It’s important to set the record straight, and then from there we can see how that changes the conversation about black-white relations today. Slavery is not just a southern sin, it’s a national one, and it’s the foundation of the American economy. Recognizing that means that the legacy of slavery becomes the responsibilities of more Americans than I personally assumed at the outset. So it was a combination of a deeply personal connection and realizing it’s a collective issue that made me go on this journey.

Read more from Katrina’s interview or listen to our extended podcast interview.
Do you have a question for Katrina about her journey, her family and her film? You can submit it in the comment field below. She’ll choose a selection of questions to respond to, so check back here after the film airs to see what she has to say.

Ruiyan Xu
Ruiyan Xu
Former POVer Ruiyan Xu worked on developing and producing materials for POV's website. Before coming to POV, she worked in the Interactive and Broadband department at Channel Thirteen/WNET. Ruiyan was born in Shanghai and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media.
  • http://www.aoscruggs.com Afi Scruggs

    FOREIGNID: 15649
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This is a remarkable effort, but I’m sure it wasn’t appreciated by everyone you met. How did you deal with antagonism, especially from African Americans who learned of your journey (both physical and spiritual)

  • Bob Kirksey

    FOREIGNID: 15650
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    The work is magnificent and is what America has needed most as it’s birth defect of slavery continues today. At this point in our history White Americans need to clean their houses, and allow us all to finally rid ourselves of a burden that is leading to our destruction. I am African American, and I would love to hug you – no “anatgonism” necessary at this point in our history.

  • http://none david peri

    FOREIGNID: 15651
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    .Since I live overseas..will this program be online via PBS? Please let me know because I enjoy the PBS programs. Thank you.

  • Gloria Hazard

    FOREIGNID: 15652
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I’ve known about the DeWolf family’s complicity in the slave trade. To be honest I used to cringe at that surname when I saw it. My ancestor was purchased in the early 18th century at Newport and was enslaved by the Littlefield and Sands family on Block Island. I had always wondered if he was brought here on one of the DeWolf ships or were their slaves only purchased via Bristol.

  • http://blog.jdewperry.com James DeWolf Perry

    FOREIGNID: 15653
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Gloria, the DeWolfs occasionally brought slaves to Rhode Island at the end of their voyages, and Newport, just across the water from Bristol, was probably a common place for such slaves to be sold.
    However, the first DeWolf to participate in the slave trade, Mark Anthony D’Wolf, only began commanding slave voyages in the 1769, and the family trade was mostly carried on between the late 1780s and 1820.
    So if your ancestor arrived in Newport in the early 18th century, it’s unlikely that the DeWolfs were involved, but it’s very possible that a Newport merchant was responsible for bringing him or her to these shores.

  • Eric Cameron

    FOREIGNID: 15654
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I am struck by the passage in which you write “I also didn’t know about any of the family history, let alone about slavery in the North. There’s no amnesia, there’s no guilt—for me, it didn’t exist. Katrina asks what I would think if I were my ancestor Simon. Even though I’m not guilty, how I would deal with the fact that my brother was a slave trader?” As a secondary history teacher, how one relates and emotionally connects to the past is not only something that I find very interesting, but it is also something that I discuss with my students on a regular basis.
    Recently I attended a seminar on the Cambodian genocide under the Khmer Rouge, and there were several survivors in the audience who were strong enough to share their thoughts during the discussions. One man spoke of how he was ashamed of his Cambodian heritage after making it through the refugee camps to his new “home” in St. Paul, Minnesota. Other audience members who were refugees from other countries echoed his sentiment of embarrassment for his country’s actions; though they were not complicit or actively involved in the making of the decisions that were destroying their country (in fact, they were the victims of the decisions), they still felt shamed as though they were.
    I am wondering how, if at all, learning about your family’s slave trading past has affected your sense of family or cultural pride? And if it has, how have you begun to start working though these emotions?

  • Dimitry

    FOREIGNID: 15655
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I have not seen the documentary yet, but have watched the trailer and this is a piece of history that is of interest to me. I was surprised that initially the film maker was not aware of the existence of slavery in the north. That surprised me more than her lack of knowledge of her family’s role in the slave trade. I could understand how and why this would be suppressed or dissapear in the memory of families. However, how could anyone educated in the US not be aware of such a basic fact about the foundation of the country? This is not a criticism of the film maker ( she is not responsible for this) but rather a condemnation of our educational system both public and private. We have a responsibility to provide all students ( no matter what racial or class backgrounds) the foundation and challenges faced by the colonies and the early nation. Our ability to forge a common identity as a people in the US is dependent upon us teaching and transmitting a common historical narrative.

  • http://www.ccsf.edu/grants Marguerite

    FOREIGNID: 15656
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    It is difficult to imagine the inhumanity that man can visit upon one another. Slavery was and is one of the most vile segments of American history along with the treatment of Native Americans and general mistreatment of people of color/non-Europeans. Historical facts should be taught…but that’s another whole documentary.
    I was wondering if your family maintained records of human property and if so how could it be used to help African Americans re-trace their ancestry?

  • http://serenitylife.vox.com Jennifer

    FOREIGNID: 15657
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for your documentary because it will be a testimony to a generation that is not well educated in knowing their history.
    When Oprah did her documentary on finding her roots, I wanted to know mine but unfortunately through DNA testing I was unable to find out specific information about what part of Africa my ancestors came from for I received a vague response, “some part of Africa.”
    Question: Did you make a conscious effort in producing this film to hire or work with those of other minorities? Just wondering and the reason why I ask this is that there are some minorities who are making documentaries to share stories that are untold like your story. I believe that maybe working with someone with similar interests and sensitivity would help you in visioning your over all result with your film. But this is not to discount other filmmakers but to make the point that you need others who are sensitive to your vision to help you create that compelling effect.
    Thank you for your time, effort, patience and will power to make the film. I will be watching.

  • White Boy

    FOREIGNID: 15658
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hello,
    I have a few questions for you:
    1) Do you realize how blatantly racist your comments are? ‘We as white people’? I’m from Romania and my grandparents ate leather in the winter. How did I benefit?
    2) Someone in your program said ‘we’re typical white people’ when you idiots were talking about all your ivy league educations. Most whites I know, from Youngstown OH or York PA, are working class. How did they benefit?
    3) I was assaulted as a child by black kids (I was a white kid in an inner-city school). Where is my money? Where are my reparations?
    4) You clearly never saw a minority growing up. Stop talking like all blacks are poor and stupid.
    5) Do blacks have ANY responsibility? Oh, I forgot. It’s white folks that did EVERYTHING. Welfare = reparations.
    Edited by moderator for content

  • http://www.law.utoledo.edu/students/faculty/BDavis/conferences/1808%20Call%20for%20Papers%20and%20Witness.mht Benjamin G. Davis

    FOREIGNID: 15659
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Ms. Katrina Browne,
    I am an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Toledo College of Law. I am organizing a conference entitled 1808:Fighting for the Right to Dream here on the bicentennial of 1808 – the year importing of slaves was abolished in the United States. I saw your PBS.Org program and understand that your ancestor was in the slave trade after 1808. I would like to talk with you and your familiy members about coming here to Toledo on October 25, 2008 for the conference and/or letting us show the film as part of what we do that day. So Ms. Katrina Browne, I would be grateful if you would contact me at my e-mail ben.davis@utoledo.edu, or telephone at 419 530 5117. I have put in the link from my faculty website above for the call for papers and witness. If that does not work, please go to http://www.law.utoledo.edu and follow the links for faculty to my faculty webpage.
    Thank you for reading this.
    Best,
    Ben

  • wahzeirah

    FOREIGNID: 15660
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    i loved the honesty of everyone in the documentary. wonderfully done.
    i guess i just have a comment:
    in my experience, most west Africans are far more friendly than what it seemed your experience in Ghana. I suppose because it has a different history. i have extened family through many marriages in my family from Sierra Leone and Mali and Senegal, and they do not have the same distrust, or angered feelings toward white americans. in most all of their experiences , over and over again, they feel that white americans treat them far better than black americans. interest of their culture is from whites. they feel the only “racism” they get in america is from black americans. it makes sense why black americans are more bitter. but it is yet another divide. it seems that black americans either just dont care about anything to do with Africa and the legacy of slavery, or they are the other extreme of being bitter.

  • http://www.law.utoledo.edu/students/faculty/BDavis/conferences/1808%20Call%20for%20Papers%20and%20Witness.mht Benjamin G. Davis

    FOREIGNID: 15661
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Ms. Katrina Browne,
    I am an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Toledo College of Law. I am organizing a conference entitled 1808:Fighting for the Right to Dream here on the bicentennial of 1808 – the year importing of slaves was abolished in the United States. I saw your PBS.Org program and understand that your ancestor was in the slave trade after 1808. I would like to talk with you and your familiy members about coming here to Toledo on October 25, 2008 for the conference and/or letting us show the film as part of what we do that day. So Ms. Katrina Browne, I would be grateful if you would contact me at my e-mail ben.davis@utoledo.edu, or telephone at 419 530 5117. I have put in the link from my faculty website above for the call for papers and witness. If that does not work, please go to http://www.law.utoledo.edu and follow the links for faculty to my faculty webpage.
    Thank you for reading this.
    Best,
    Ben

  • Kenny Cahill

    FOREIGNID: 15663
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was disappointed that Ms. Browne gave only the slightest of mention as to the complicity of Africans and how the benefited from the slave trade. Warring African tribes would routinely turnover to white slavers captured members of different tribes for profit. White slavers routinely contracted with Africans to hunt down and capture Africans.
    But the question I wish to pose to Ms. Browne is,”How much?” How much is she expecting each “white” American to pay?
    edited by moderator for content

  • Ann

    FOREIGNID: 15662
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    What a find to come upon your gentle, honest, painful film. I knew there were bits of slavery here in the North. But really, it has been hidden, secreted away. Thank you. My in-laws have a slave trader in their family history. I have always felt great shame about this, and curiosity on how anyone could ever be so evil, so cruel, to make money. I also have felt shame on how this affects my children’s history and how can I guide them ahead.
    Slavery is beyond emotion, beyond any sane description. It destroyed families, heritages, cultures, legacies. It created pain do that a select few would have wealth and great comfort, as they elevated themselves above all others. i never understood what it was that my in-law family had that gave them this aura of hierarchy, above others, even though they were not.
    I wonder if that was handed down to them, their legacy, without guilt.
    I feel for our countries horrid history of cruelty, to many peoples.
    I think that our country needs to make a national day of mourning/honor, with statues, monuments towards Slavery, towards the genocide of Native Americans, Native Mexicans that we threw from their lands, and so on, and on…
    I also would like to see our president, now, before the next one comes in – apologize, in word and written form for these atrocities.
    I would also like to see amends made financially, somehow, but how? I have no answer there.
    Thank you. Make more films please, make more films.
    Ann

  • ed

    FOREIGNID: 15664
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    With respect, the endeavor was a heartfelt effort to come to terms with a family’s legacy but is it really fair? The blood-debt of the African slave trade is borne by many wretched hands, from the Arab raiders who snared the hapless souls, to the African slave merchants peddling in the trade for centuries before the arrival of Europeans and finally, the Europeans who callously went about this business with little remorse. The documentary smacks of self-absorption more that anything; it fails to recognize these bitter details and by resurrecting the reparations issue 143 years after the fact, shifts the practical costs onto the general society, most of whose ancestors had yet arrived on these shores.

  • http://blog.jdewperry.com James DeWolf Perry

    FOREIGNID: 15665
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Wahzeirah, I’m one of the DeWolf descendants who appear in the film, and I just want to respond briefly to your comment about West Africa. In Ghana, we did receive a warm welcome from every Ghanaian we met. In the film, Katrina was referring to the attitude of one woman from the United States, who did not wish to talk with a white person while she was visiting the country.

  • Andy Humm

    FOREIGNID: 15666
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for a moving and absorbing piece of work. I was partly drawn to it because my parents retired to Bristol from Long Island and I’ve visited them there for more than fifteen years. They always noted that the big Colt house was famous for two things–Ethel Barrymore living there when she married a Colt and the fact that the family were slave traders. Your documentary sure fleshed out the latter story.
    I’m white and work in Harlem. There is no question in my mind that racism is persistent and pervasive. Despite the great strides made by the Civil Rights movement, African Americans are still getting the short end of the stick. And I agree that the reparations that need to be made must be in terms of recitfying those inequalities today. We could go a long way towards accomplishing that if we instituted national health insurance, provided quality public education for all, made housing more affordable. These things would help a lot of poorer whites as well. But they will require a vast re-ordering of the tax structure and closing the wealth gap. (It doesn’t require socialist revolution, just a tax structure similar to the one we had in the Eisenhower years with a 91% top rate.)
    I’m an atheist myself, but I am curious what many of you as Episcopalians make of the schism in the Anglican Communion over the acceptance of gay people, especially since the most vehement anti-gay voices are coming out of Africa. It is painful as a gay person to hear Bishops such as Peter Akinola of Nigeria leading that charge in the most bigoted of terms, even as South African Bishop Desmond Tutu champions gay rights.

  • Amy

    FOREIGNID: 15667
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Congratulations on a fine piece of work. If I remember correctly, your film said there was slavery in the North for about 200 years. I am assuming your ancestors owned their own slaves. Have you thought of finding their descendants, some of whom might be related to you?

  • Charlie Kraybill

    FOREIGNID: 15668
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Katrina Browne, Thank you so much for producing this program. It was one of the most powerful hours of television I have ever seen. By the end when you were delivering your sermon, tears were streaming down my face. The conversation you and your family members have begun is all the more relevant now as Barack Obama moves closer to the White House. I hope and pray that the issues you’ve raised, and the openness you’ve displayed, will help us all embark on a national dialogue on race relations. During the Jeremiah Wright controversy, I wrote a DailyKos diary where I proposed an organized effort to help desegregate Sunday mornings in America. My idea was to encourage blacks and whites in neighboring congregations to participate in worship exchange programs, for the sake of mutual understanding. Now I’m thinking there’s really not much point in getting black people to visit white churches. Rather, it seems to me what is really needed is for whites of good will to humbly find places in the back pews of black churches, where they can sit quietly and allow the experience to wash over them, in a spirit of learning and enlightenment. Getting whites to willingly engage the black experience, on a personal face-to-face level – to actually make an effort to integrate all aspects of their lives, including the spiritual – is the best way for real understanding and reconciliation to take place. Would you be interested in helping to develop and promote such a project?

  • Renee Martin-Shahid

    FOREIGNID: 15669
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Ms. Browne:
    Thank you for sharing what must have been a painful process for you and your family. To unearth your past and bring it to the public eye is most commendable. This tells me that reconciliation is possible for whites and that we all bear the scars of the slave trade.

  • Noor Jawad

    FOREIGNID: 15670
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Katrina,
    Peace and Blessings upon you.
    I was so moved by your film that before going to bed i just had to get a message off to you. THank you so very much for all of the work you and your family have engaged in for your personal benefit and healing and for that of all humanity.
    I am an African American Muslim woman I have traveled to Ghana and visited Elmina and other slave dungeons in the West Indies. I am still healing from the realization of my peoples past and current situations. Self -hatred is one of the most harmful results of the slavery of my ancestors.
    As Life Transformation Coach and Natural Health Educator I work with ethnic and culturally diverse clients including , corporate leaders, community and religious groups, individuals and families seeking to heal and move beyond the pain, fear and self-limiting barriers of their past. Racial issues run deep and use up the precious human energy needed to evolve us to higher vision and action.
    I believe that your film would be an invaluable asset to assist my clients in moving beyond their painful past and transending self-imposed and societal limitations. Please let me know how i may obtain a copy. I thank you and your family again for your courage and generositiy. May God continue to bless all of our efforts toward goodness in the world.
    Sincerly,
    F. Noor Jawad, BSNH, CHt, RM

  • Noor Jawad

    FOREIGNID: 15671
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Katrina,
    This is my second post.
    I hope that you did receive the first one.
    Thank you for your work and blessing to you and your family.
    I would like to obtain a copy to use for education purposes with my coaching clients.
    Sincerely,
    F. Noor Jawad, BSNH, CHt, RM

  • Eric E. Danielson

    FOREIGNID: 15672
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you so very much for such a wonderful production and for your hard work in developing the project.
    What are your views on affirmative action programs based on socioeconomic status rather than on race? Might such programs be more likely to be passed into law than some of our race-based programs?

  • Sophia

    FOREIGNID: 15673
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was pleased to see someone take action in remembering the forgotten, when in all reality it was and never will be forgotten. The sadness , cruelty and pain it brought people then and now. It was amazing and very relieving to see how calm the people of Ghana were and civil they were towards your group. As an American I know how personal we take things and lash out to any body whom we assume is potentially hurting us or our family, but it was very impressive to see even the children not be afraid and able to ask forward questions. I hope it dose make us realize what we need to do to bring our nation together. Racism is like a sickness its something we should not be proud of or want in our life. A nation that is so diverse and filled with so many beautiful colors of the rainbow with so many opportunities, its very depressing to have limitations based on colors of skin. This definitely was a good first step in to hopefully fixing the past and the promising future, but knowing how some people have made racism almost a way of there life against blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Indian, etc. as well as religion and sexual orientation. I know that we are a long ways away from the outcome we would like and as a country we definitely need it.

  • Sophia

    FOREIGNID: 15674
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was pleased to see someone take action in remembering the forgotten, when in all reality it was and never will be forgotten. The sadness , cruelty and pain it brought people then and now. It was amazing and very relieving to see how calm the people of Ghana were and civil they were towards your group. As an American I know how personal we take things and lash out to any body whom we assume is potentially hurting us or our family, but it was very impressive to see even the children not be afraid and able to ask forward questions. I hope it dose make us realize what we need to do to bring our nation together. Racism is like a sickness its something we should not be proud of or want in our life. A nation that is so diverse and filled with so many beautiful colors of the rainbow with so many opportunities, its very depressing to have limitations based on colors of skin. This definitely was a good first step in to hopefully fixing the past and the promising future, but knowing how some people have made racism almost a way of there life against blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Indian, etc. as well as religion and sexual orientation. I know that we are a long ways away from the outcome we would like and as a country we definitely need it.

  • Karriem

    FOREIGNID: 15675
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hey Katrina,
    My forefather was one of those black elders who sold my people to your family. He settled in Virginia as a “free black.” My family also attend Ivy league schools & preparatory schools. I grew up in the second largest house in America. Growing up my father changed his name and kept us apart from his family. I don’t think about guilt, or shame. We are all here now, and we must all keep working to make lemonade out of all these lemons.
    Salaam!

  • Roger

    FOREIGNID: 15676
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was moved by the attitude of you and your family. I have never heard Caucasians speak of slavery in a spirit of remorse and reconciliation. My experience with Caucasians in the part of the country I live in has always been hostility, superiority exclusion and condemnation toward blacks.
    Thank you so much I did not know your attitude existed among Caucasians in America.
    I have observed that a primary justification for continued racism and wounding is the misuse of the bible. I am interested in helping the healing process by addressing the way the bible has been used and distorted to promote slavery and racism. I am interested in a ministry that reaches out to Christians in churches and non believers who are turned off by a God they believe racist, to teach the truth about God’s word, his love for all people and the numerous biblical accounts that illustrate that God looks at the heart of man not his skin color.
    Please let me know if you have been involved in any of these types of pursuits or have any interest in pursuing them.

  • JOAN FLOWERS

    FOREIGNID: 15677
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    DEAR KATRINA
    JUST WATCHED YOUR SHOW AND “THANK YOU ” FOR DISCUSSING A TOPIC TOO FEW CARE TO DEAL WITH. WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO. AS A BLACK CHICAGO ACTRESS WITH BAKER AND ROWLEY TALENT I WOULD LOVE TO GET ACTING WORK BECAUSE I CAN DO THE ACTING JOBS BUT AS A BLACK WOMAN I GET VERY LITTLE WORK AND WOULD LIKE MORE IF POSSIBLE. IT WOULD BE A PLEASURE TO WORK WITH YOU IN THE FUTURE IF POSSIBLE AS A DIRECTOR OR TO DO VOICE-OVER FOR YOUR FUTURE PROJECTS.
    WOULD YOU BELIEVE THAT IN THESE TIMES PEOPLE ARE STILL SAYING WE HAVE “NO RIGHTS “AS MY LANDLORD TOLD ME LAST YEAR.
    IT WILL TAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO LOOK AT OUR PAST TO SEE HOW WE CAN MAKE “TOMORROW” A BETTER PLACE TO BE AND I DO BELIEVE IF WE FAIL TO LEARN FROM OUR PAST WE WILL MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES IN THE FUTURE AS IF WE NEVER LEARNED FROM PAST SORROWS.
    IF YOU HAVE THE TIME AND MONEY TO TELL ANOTHER STORY MY FAMILY IS “RICH IN HISTORY” AND THERE IS A GREAT STORY TO BE TOLD ABOUT MY FAMILY’S HISTORY FROM SLAVERY TO NOW AND HOW THEY WANTED A “BETTER LIFE” FOR MY GENERATION AND FOR THOSE TO COME.
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMPASSIONATE AND MOVING STORY THAT
    FEW PEOPLE WILL EVER TELL. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COURAGE AND FOR STANDING UP FOR WHAT IS “RIGHT” AND CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN HOW WE RELATE TO EACH OTHER AS HUMAN BEINGS IN TIMES TO COME
    JOAN FLOWERS JF-36

  • JOAN FLOWERS

    FOREIGNID: 15678
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    DEAR KATRINA
    FOR FYI
    DID YOU KNOW “40 ACRES AND A MULE” WHICH IS SPIKE LEES
    PRODUCTION COMPANY IS NAMED AFTER THE PROMISE TO GIVE
    SLAVES “40 ACRES AND A MULE” AFTER SLAVERY WAS OVER-WHICH NEVER CAME TO PASS.
    JOAN FLOWERS

  • http://HTML Pamela McGoughy

    FOREIGNID: 15679
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    Dear Katrina,
    Over the past three years, I have had this vision about myself as a film director. The cast were all of my Grandchildren, and other family members potraying what it has been like for African American single mothers who put their full faith and trust in God to see them through. Not only this , but to also show the struggles these single wome are faced with on a daily basis, especially if they do not have a degree in a related field of their employement. I do want to make this film. Can you tell me how to get started in doing so, and if so, is there some kind of grant I can apply for for this cause?
    Please reply,
    Thank you Ms. Katrina Brown
    pmcgoughy@comcast.net

  • Winston Johnson

    FOREIGNID: 15680
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Ms. Browne:
    I just stumbled onto your film after about the first 10 minutes. I was totally blown away. It was already late and I had intended to go to bed but I could not stop watching.
    Just last week I finished reading Douglas Blackmon’s “Slavery By Another Name” which I think should be required reading for every American. I was born in the deep south in 1941 and had seen some horrors done to African Americans, but after reading that book I realized I didn’t even know the tip of the iceberg. I am white, gay, and atheist and I agree with Andy Humm about the very ugly homophobic vitriol coming from the African church. The church almost made me commit suicide when I was in college. However, I was very impressed with the way you and your sermon were embraced by your church.
    As a country we have pushed other countries and corporations to make reparations for past evils and yet as a country we totally deny our past. Anyone who thinks the two Americas that exist side-by-side today has nothing to do with our past is very ill informed.
    We denied slaves education, after US troops left the south law enforcement took over the lives of black men. They were arrested for nothing then sold into slave labor for some of the largest corporations in America well into the 20th century. In Georgia all African Americans were ordered out of Forsyth County in 1912, now a very wealthy part of metro Atlanta. Courthouse records prove that their property was conficated. When a people has no education and no means of creating wealth it leads to long term poverty and despair. On the other hand, many of the largest fortunes in Atlanta, Birmingham, and other big cities and small towns all over the south can be traced back to free labor before and AFTER the civil war all the way up to World War 2.
    I cannot convey how much I admire you and your family for your attempt to try to create change in the country that will benefit all of us.
    Sincerely,
    Winston Johnson
    Atlanta

  • http://www.strategenius.org Orpheus Crutchfield

    FOREIGNID: 15681
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hi Katrina,
    I want to thank you for your work. Brave work from more white people like you (who want change) will change our country in connection to work already being done by people of color.
    I am a friend of Lauren Kucera- have you connected with Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr.? He is the founder of the White Privilege Conference- you should speak at this conference! What your work is about is now transformed into white privilege- I could recognize it throughout the film. go to http://www.whiteprivilegeconference.com
    Contact me if you like/have time: 510-685-0861
    Orpheus Crutchfield

  • Charlene Coleman

    FOREIGNID: 15682
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hello Katrina,
    Your film is an interesting start for the Caucasian community to have dialog with itself. The question that still lingers is that if every one connected to slavery were to ask themselves how they feel about Africans and the African Diaspora, in particular, African Americans, what would be the answer? It is one thing to disdain the past, but many Americans and European or Asian or Latin immigrants to America still treat African Americans with disdain. Until people accept each other as they are and stop trying to assimilate them into a culture that is not their own one will never be able to heal, respect, appreciate, or enjoy one another as long as racism is propagated. Some African Americans are also at fault for falling into the trap of having to have White people validate them. For instance, women of African descent still straighten and color their hair on the premise that straight and/or blond hair is more beautiful than their own. I would say to anyone that you are validated by God, the universe, the earth, and when you come to that realization, you are then truly free. I am an African American woman, but it is obvious that I have some white ancestry not by choice. So the one thing that I have to deal with is that my ancestry includes a rapist, because it was at least 4 generations before me and knowing the climate of the 18th and 19th centuries, I’m pretty sure it was not love. If White Americans truly want to help, they will consider their own currently held prejudices and racism. I do believe that White people have privilege, whether they want to admit to it or not, because even a White blue collar worker has more privilege than an African American blue collar worker. This privilege has always included the right to vote, the right to own land without someone taking if from you, the right to equal pay, the right to not be harassed, accumulation of wealth, and most importantly, the right to be me.

  • R.Goins

    FOREIGNID: 15683
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Ms.Browne, thank you. I appreciate your honesty. As I continue to search Virginia for traces of my family, I am learning more American history than any I would otherwise learn in the American educational system. I have had to read deeds, wills, chancery and order books to piece together a family tree. So far I have made it back to the early 1800s in Thomas Jefferson’s Albemarle County. I’ve tried to read every letter of any book that I could put my hands on. It is certainly an odyssey that I didn’t quite expect. All of my history courses (even those in my post-secondary eductional experience) began with Reconstruction. It was as though anything mentioned before this period in American history was taboo. As I have researched passed the Civil War, I wonder why America and Americans are so reluctant to understand the our history?

  • Patricia

    FOREIGNID: 15684
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Katrina,
    I watched the movie we are speaking about here. For the most part, I couldn’t agree more. I am a white American, but as I was adopted I haven’t the slightest idea who came before me or what they did. I can only take responsibility for my own actions. I consider my “adopted” family my “real” family as it is the only family I have known.

    Here is what makes me consider, and it’s something you did not consider (nor has anyone else brought it up.). My family (my “real family”) is of Polish descent on my mom’s side. They came to this country in 1916 and my aunt didn’t come until after WWII. Here’s my dilemma. My aunt is white (as are we all). But, instead of accusing her, like all other white americans, of being complicit in slavery, and expecting her to somehow make reparations to those who were enslaved by the landowners here; she was herself a slave. She was taken by the Nazi SS from her girls school at a young age (11/12) and put in a cattle car and taken to Germany; there to be enslaved by an SS officer and his family as a “house girl” nanny/housekeeper for 8 years. After the war, she was released. She was only released by the fact that the Nazi’s lost the war. The Americans won theirs. Time and chance, I guess.
    Not only is this woman not complicit in the slave trade, but those who might view her as such because of the color of her skin, would incorrectly view her as the aggressor when she was in fact, one of the victims of this very hideous practice.

    What should she do about that? How could she be identified? It is an oversimplification to suggest that all whites should make reparations to all African Americans…because in fact, some of the whites in this country have fared little better, and have had to climb out of their own pits. not only that, to whom should my aunt go for reparations? After all…..
    The point being, I am heartened that your family members have taken the steps you have, and have begin the journey you have. But if an African American person would blame me (or my ancestors) for their misery and the current disadvantagement, they would be wrong, and would be accusing someone who suffered the same indignities at the hands of yet another barbaric regime…with no acknowledgement whatsoever because their skin color is wrong for this argument.

    It stands to reason we should always be careful whom we point our fingers at, or whom we expend our anger on. We could be dead wrong. That’s certainly not helpful to anyone. I am disgusted by how my nation treated slaves (or that they were involved at all..in fact, I find all forms of slavery disgusting), but I am just as disgusted at how the priveleged take advantage of those of us who will never succeed or have the advantages…as if it was somehow our fault. My immiigrant family came here with nothing, and worked their fingers to the bone, so that we might have opportunity. My parents sacrificed. But in the end, illness and disability came before we could benefit so we still have no achieved what our family wishes it could have.
    Sometimes life just isn’t fair, no matter what color we are. We need to remember to try not to revictimize people by asking them to apologize to others for crimes they themselves endured at the hands of yet others (who will never apologize.) Sometimes we just don’t know who is whom.
    What we must try to do instead is to learn how not to hate. How to put our anger into productive use as a catalyst for positive change. Because hate will only cause new indignities with new victims, and on it goes, ad inifinitim.
    Patricia

  • Billie Ann Davis

    FOREIGNID: 15685
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for this enlightening film. I have been curious about how white Americans deal with slavery. Your film gave me a window to peer into for seeing how a small group dealt with the family’s and your own burdens of race and slavery. May the film make its way into the hands of many others, and may it inspire them to reconcile and come to terms with what happened during the dark days of slavery.
    I am interested in getting a copy for facilitating dialogues on race.

  • wahzeirah

    FOREIGNID: 15686
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    dear James DeWolf Perry, I am very happy to hear that, thank you for the response. and again i commend you all.
    thank you.

  • Dwayne Howell

    FOREIGNID: 15687
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear MS BROWNE
    Your film was wonderful ,you all showed extreme courage in taking part in this documentary,i do not have a college degree i am just an ordinary black man living in ameica ,but i just wanted to thank all of you all for the film and your openness things like these educate and enlighten all americans may god bless all of you and thanks again.
    DWAYNE HOWELL

  • David Anthony

    FOREIGNID: 15688
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina Browne,
    fillmmaker, “Traces of the Trade,”
    c/o Ebb Pod Productions |
    P.O. Box 380302 |
    Cambridge, MA 02238
    Dear Katrina Browne:
    I watched Traces of the Trade last evening on POV aired
    via KQED in San Francisco, a PBS affiliate in my viewing
    area and found it very moving. As I indicated at your
    website, I teach African American History and am of
    African Descent. The majority of my students are of
    European, Asian and Latino heritage. I saw the film last
    evening and wish to show it to my classes.
    I have been teaching African-American History for over 25
    years, two decades at my present location. Previously I
    taught at the University of Oregon and before that Coppin
    State College now University in Baltimore. During recent
    iterations of the class I have used a variety of texts,
    written, visual and aural, including songs from the Slave
    TRade Era such as “The Flying Cloud” and a radio broadcast
    by Edward Ball, author of “Slaves In the Family,” of whose
    work you may be aware.
    It is critical in my work to foreground the voices of
    descendants of all sides of the Triangular Trade. It is
    also important to mention that I am not only an
    African-American historian but an Africanist, whose
    specialties have taken me to the Indian Ocean side of the
    continent, to Eastern and Southern Africa, for the trade
    was not merely an Atlantic phenomenon. I am not out to
    induce guilt but to illuminate aspects of this occluded
    history, one which is denied and suppressed by those
    living with its legacy, sometimes aware but very often
    not, in order to promote the type of healing discussed in
    your film. I also teach African Cinema. I would welcome
    the opportunity to use this document in my Spiritual
    community, an omnifaith church called Inner Light
    Ministries and to take it around to schools and interested
    community organizations to promote discussion. Please add
    my name to your list(s). My business address was left at
    your site.
    My home address is as follows:
    225 Dickens Way
    Santa Cruz, CA 95064
    If you are interested I would be happy to attach samples
    of my work, which connects to but does not always revolve
    around slavery as such but frequently treats its
    aftermath.
    My most recent full length work is the following:
    http://www.amazon.com/Max-Yergan-Race-Internationalist-Warrior/dp/0814707041
    http://www.nyupress.org/books/Max_Yergan-products_id-3809.html
    This research has afforded me opportunities to explore the links between slavery, reconciliation and black theology, as well as study at close range interactions between Americans of African Descent and South Africans in the 20th century. I am part of a trio of co-editors involved in this project:
    http://www.howard.edu/library/reference/bob_edgar_site/
    As you will notice, I am extensively involved in historical reconstruction on both sides of the Atlantic Diaspora as well as in western part of the greater Indian Ocean world.
    Please feel free to contact me should you wish to do so.
    Thank you for your courage and commitment in taking this step.

  • Winston Johnson

    FOREIGNID: 15689
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I just discovered that there are two separate blogs on this film. Is there some way to combine them? I almost missed dozens of posts because I did not realize there were two. I is obvious that this film has started an extremely important conversation that is necessary if we are ever to have real peace in this country.
    Sincerely,
    Winston Johnson
    Atlanta

  • Joyce Tesar

    FOREIGNID: 15690
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for having the guts to make this film.
    I would really like to see you make a film about what has happened in your family since the film was made. It is essential that Caucasians talk and work with each other about racism, as Malcolm X said. I would also like to suggest Randall Robinson’s books as an aid to further learning. May Allah bless you for your courage.

  • Laura

    FOREIGNID: 15691
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina,
    Thank you for documenting your journey. I am an African American searching for my family history and my goal, like your grandmother is to present my daughter with a book with oral history etc. It is quite frustrating when I can only document historically back so far and I wish that white families would now be willing to share documents, diareis, oral history to help us in our search. It can be done to heal or nation.

  • http://www.BlackJesus.com Charles Johnson

    FOREIGNID: 15692
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina, while I do commend you on your efforts to shed more light on the truth about slavery, I think separation and segregation will continue, especially on Sundays, until we also deal with the truth of who Jesus Christ really was and what did he really look like. Remember, slave owners went to church on Sunday because they felt it was their God given right to jubjugate a race of people base on white supremacy. Until we teach all children the true biblical and historical facts, nothing will change. http://www.BlackJesus.com

  • Delbert Richardson

    FOREIGNID: 15693
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    I’M PROUD OF YOUR “WILLINGNESS” TO ACCEPT/ADDRESS THE BRUTAL TRUTHS OF YOUR ANCESTORS. This (i feel) is the first step towards “HEALING”. I’M a educator in the greater Seattle area. I have a traveling exhibit called The “American History” Exhibit/The “Unspoken Truths”. It is geared towards children and youg adults. I display authentic artifacts (Slave Shackles/Branding Irons) as well items from the “Jim Crow Era”. One of the goals is to provide them with information (the truth), so that may develop their own feelings/beliefs. By doing this i (i feel) we provide them with a better understanding of America’s past and the importance of it never happening again! I noticed duriing the airing ( last nite) One of your relatives live in the Seattlle area. I would welcome the opportunity to meet her and invite her to my next exhiibit showing (in Oct.). Stay encouraged and God w/direct us all in the right direction (regarding reparations.
    Delbert Richardson
    Second Generation storyteller
    dboonie1@aol.com

  • Delbert Richardson

    FOREIGNID: 15694
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    I’M PROUD OF YOUR “WILLINGNESS” TO ACCEPT/ADDRESS THE BRUTAL TRUTHS OF YOUR ANCESTORS. This (i feel) is the first step towards “HEALING”. I’M a educator in the greater Seattle area. I have a traveling exhibit called The “American History” Exhibit/The “Unspoken Truths”. It is geared towards children and youg adults. I display authentic artifacts (Slave Shackles/Branding Irons) as well items from the “Jim Crow Era”. One of the goals is to provide them with information (the truth), so that may develop their own feelings/beliefs. By doing this i (i feel) we provide them with a better understanding of America’s past and the importance of it never happening again! I noticed duriing the airing ( last nite) One of your relatives live in the Seattlle area. I would welcome the opportunity to meet her and invite her to my next exhiibit showing (in Oct.). Stay encouraged and God w/direct us all in the right direction (regarding reparations.
    Delbert Richardson
    Second Generation storyteller
    dboonie1@aol.com

  • Angelo J. Moix

    FOREIGNID: 15695
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I agree with the comment that “by the number of comments denying the problem it is eye-opening to me to see how many racists watch PBS”. However, I don’t believe that anyone these days is guilty of our past. We were all slave from other societies or invators. My ancestors were foot soldiers for the Roman Legion in Europe, then from Napoleon. Should we ask for reparation to France or Italy. How many christian died by the Roman’s hand. In my opinion we shouldn’t. However, we should take a good look at ourselves at the present time, then ask are we tolerant to other race? Why Katrina didn’t have any black friend at their dinner table. Ask yourselves how many black friends do you have? Do you invite for lunch or for dinner to meet your family a black coworker? Are we right in invating Iraq or future Iran and destroy their country, kill their people and more than 4,400 of our own people for the sake of so called democracy. Aren’t we all DeWolf by pretending that Iraq’s population are subhuman. History repeats itself. The film is very good and the proof is in the number of letters that you have received, for that I thank you, Katrina and your family, and everyone that participated in the making of the film.

  • Holly Dibrell

    FOREIGNID: 15696
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This documentary was incredibly close to my heart and soul. I have recently begun unearthing my ancestral heritage and creating a family tree. I have been doing research and knew that my father’s side (who lived in the south) owned slaves, which was difficult enough, but then I discovered that my mother’s family owned slaves as well. Being face to face with this realization has been very difficult for me and I have not been able to continue my ancestral research because of it. I don’t know what to do?? I am a social worker and am very consious of race, poverty, and inequality in our society and have devoted my working life (and personal activism) to “righting” it. I know i can’t do it on my own, but I feel like my family just doesn’t get the heaviness of it and the real implications. What do you suggest I do? I feel that “white” people inheirit the legacy of the oppressor, which can be very damaging. I just don’t know what to do with this…how do we all heal?? Thank You for making such a real film.

  • Holly Dibrell

    FOREIGNID: 15697
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This documentary was incredibly close to my heart and soul. I have recently begun unearthing my ancestral heritage and creating a family tree. I have been doing research and knew that my father’s side (who lived in the south) owned slaves, which was difficult enough, but then I discovered that my mother’s family owned slaves as well. Being face to face with this realization has been very difficult for me and I have not been able to continue my ancestral research because of it. I don’t know what to do?? I am a social worker and am very consious of race, poverty, and inequality in our society and have devoted my working life (and personal activism) to “righting” it. I know i can’t do it on my own, but I feel like my family just doesn’t get the heaviness of it and the real implications. What do you suggest I do? I feel that “white” people inheirit the legacy of the oppressor, which can be very damaging. I just don’t know what to do with this…how do we all heal?? Thank You for making such a real film.

  • Bertha Lee

    FOREIGNID: 15698
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hello Ms. Browne,
    Can I purchase a copy of your film? If so please let me know.
    I would like to share it with my grand children.
    Thank you

  • frank

    FOREIGNID: 15699
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina your efforts are certainly laudable and groundbreaking. It should be a model for what mostly white America must do to improve race relations in this country. The argument that somehow “I had nothing to do with it” is old and stale. Another common one I hear is that of reverse discrimination. In the jungle that’s like the lion claiming to be an endangered species even though it’s a predator, or better yet, its like men claiming to be victims of rape and domestic abuse. Doesn’t mean that it doesn’t occasionally happen but whats the frequency and magnitude of it? The bigger question though, is that have these incidents of prejudice continued to affect the lives of the victims the way it has for blacks. This is what makes such claims simply laughable.
    The last one I’ve heard is that “I have black friends” Somehow in todays society that is enough to make up for whatever prejudices and biases anyone may be harboring. I am sure every group in this country and indeed on this earth can check the annals of history and find a story or an event that they can claim passes the test to qualify as a victim of prejudice and abuse. Why doesn’t everyone join the line? This is the thinking critics mostly white will attack you on.
    One question I have for you is this. Are your ancestors the De Wolf’s originally from Holland? Also what is your contact information? I am working on legislation to introduce a resolution apologizing for Connecticut’s role in slavery and I think you will be a great speaker for a Press Conference I plan on having next year. Thanks.

  • http://blog.jdewperry.com/ James DeWolf Perry

    FOREIGNID: 15700
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Frank, we’ve been supporting the introduction of legislation in Rhode Island to acknowledge the state’s role in slavery and the slave trade, and we would be delighted to talk with you about supporting your efforts in Connecticut.
    You can reach any of us through the film’s web site: http://www.tracesofthetrade.org/family/.

  • Jessica G

    FOREIGNID: 15701
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina your film was fascinating and very educational, thank you for producing such a film that educates people about such important content.
    I have a interesting question for you: Did any decentants of the DeWolf family marry anyone who is african american? If so, how if any has your family history effected their reationships.

  • Jessica G

    FOREIGNID: 15702
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina your film was fascinating and very educational, thank you for producing a film that has such important and historical content.
    My question for you is: Did any descendants of the De Wolf family marry anyone who is African American? If so, how has your family history affected their relationships?

  • Beverley McCarther

    FOREIGNID: 15703
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    WoW! my favorite HISTORY ( His Or Her) what remain with me was the fact in ghana, on top of the castle was a CHURCH and before the slaves left the MOTHERLAND they were Baptised and given chrisitian names?? I have the surname McCarther and know that this isn,t my true name and all my adult life have wonder? who were the McCarther? i believe it,s irish or a scothish surname? i haven,t a clue but! if anyone knows email Me! Nandi101@aol.com what i really want to say i,m going though awakeing were i know and have experince that there is NO GOD! that god that The whites talk about is another form of slavery to keep my people looking for this miracle that will never happen, what i,m saying is that black people are in church day in night out and all you can get from them is GOD will take care of this and that and i,m still waiting we are poor people and we take all our money( low wages) to the church and QUOTE BIBLE VERSES to people that need help and tell them to hold on??? if there is a GOD on this Earth he BLIND and he can,t HEAR and he must be WHITE, because how can one group of people take over every country stealing and rapeing( the People and the land) and call them selves CHRISITIAN ALL IN THE NAME OF GOD! then I want no part of this there so call GOD. i was very happy to see that you guys made it to the DOOR OF NO RETURN. i was on pins and needle and shouting please please if you can just go though that door it will change your life. thank you for your courage.. as for me the struggle continue. i wish i had the Money or same opportunity that you and your family have so that i could get some anwers for my soul on tracing my roots.

  • Thomas H. Westbrook

    FOREIGNID: 15704
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    There is a great deal of history in the film that was not taught in public schools during the 1950′s and 60′s. The history taught failed to indicate how the country’s policies were to look away. There is also the history of how the country treated and still treats native americans. I am a white male in my mid sixties. This film should be required viewing by all. It could help start the dialogue on race, culture, immigration, etc. I would like to know the title and how to get a copy of the song during the credits that was sung by Johnny Cash. Thanks for sharing your story. Tommy Westbrook

  • Margo Guertin

    FOREIGNID: 15705
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Cousin Katrina,
    Congratulations on this powerful documentary about such a difficult but important part of our family history! The story needed to be told, and you did it well.
    However, I hope that you can add to the final credits the names of the other deWolf/Howe descendants whose efforts to discover and tell this story have contributed either directly or indirectly to the body of information we now have. I believe there was a book written near the end of the 19th century about the family slave trade by a Perry, but I don’t know much more about it than that. However, I have just finished reading the chapter on slavery in the book “Mount Hope: A New England Chronicle”, written in 1957 by our mutual great uncle, George Locke Howe. I expect that as he was unearthing pieces of this sad history, he shared it with his siblings, in particular his sister Ros, your grandmother, who passed it on to you.
    I think you have done an extraordinary job of bringing out an important and difficult story, and would just ask that you add credits to the family members in earlier generations who have tried to do the same.

  • Mike Howden

    FOREIGNID: 15706
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Who is singing One at the end of the film?
    Thanks

  • samfi man

    FOREIGNID: 15707
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My wife is a DeWolf. One of the ancestors who is still remembered is a DeWolf who was a famous abolitionist. I missed the first half of your movie so perhaps I missed this, but can you comment on the 19th Century abolition movement, your family’s role, and how this part of the story factors into the complexities of a current reconciliation movement.

  • Jon Woods

    FOREIGNID: 15708
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina you produced a very intriguing production but their was one idea or question which never seam to come up. In your family’s discussion on what forms of reconciliatory action you could take, did the idea of seeking out some of the decedents of the slaves your family owned or trafficked and finding a way to take conciliatory action with their input?

  • Jon Woods

    FOREIGNID: 15709
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina you produced a very intriguing production but their was one idea or question which never seam to come up. In your family’s discussion on what forms of reconciliatory action you could take, did the idea of seeking out some of the decedents of the slaves your family owned or trafficked and finding a way to take conciliatory action with their input ever come up?

  • http://www.tracesofthetrade.org Katrina Browne

    FOREIGNID: 15710
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This is Katrina Browne. I just want to start by thanking folks so much for writing to me and sharing your opinions and feelings. Amtrak is doing bridge construction this week on Boston/NYC route so I’ve been been having transportation challenges and less present here than intended!

  • Mike Howden

    FOREIGNID: 15711
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Who is the singer of One at the end of the film?

  • http://blog.jdewperry.com/ James DeWolf Perry

    FOREIGNID: 15712
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Mike, the song “One” at the end of the film is from the band U2, and is sung by Johnny Cash, from his album American III: Solitary Man (2000).
    Samfi, can you tell us about your wife’s DeWolf ancestor, the one who is remembered as a famous abolitionist? We know very little about any abolitionist activity by the DeWolf family, and this is a particular area of interest to me.

  • Merle Causey

    FOREIGNID: 15713
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Reparations – Why do the people calling for reparations forget the almost one million Americans who died fighting the Civil War to free the slaves? At least half were from the North. Is not the blood of so many mostly white Americans enough reparations?
    In your program, you seemed to downplay the part Africans had in selling their fellow Africans. I have seen other documentaries where Afro-Americans were surprised to find out that many of their ancestors were sold by fellow Africans. Also do not forget those Arabian sellers of slaves. Should Saudi Arabia make reparations?
    One of the men interviewed at the end of your program said that he thought that pushing for reparations would only create anger. I think he is right.
    Regards,
    Merle Causey

  • http://blog.jdewperry.com/ James DeWolf Perry

    FOREIGNID: 15714
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Merle, I don’t support reparations, but I don’t believe it can be argued that the nation’s Civil War dead constituted reparations for slavery.
    The Civil War was not started to order to end slavery. That became a Union goal only well into the war. Very few soldiers, meanwhile, enlisted in order to fight against slavery. Most soldiers were drafted, in any event, and northern volunteers typically enlisted in order to defend the North and to preserve the Union.
    In any case, stopping an evil practice is not the same thing, by any means, as trying to make up for the wrongdoing involved. If you or I were kidnapped, enslaved, brought to a foreign land, and kept in bondage indefinitely, I doubt we would agree that simply being freed and left there with nothing would make up for it.
    It’s true that the documentary did not dwell on the African end of the slave trade, although it does mention that Africans were the ones who enslaved the victims and sold them to the European and American traders.
    I think that aspect of the history, while useful for everyone to know, is particularly relevant to African societies as they acknowledge their historic role in the slave trade (which they generally do quite freely, by the way). It’s also a reminder that this was a very human institution, not limited to any particular time or place or group of individuals.

  • http://blog.jdewperry.com/ James DeWolf Perry

    FOREIGNID: 15715
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This is a general response, while Katrina Browne is preparing to answer questions here.
    Those who are interested in obtaining a copy of the film, or in holding screenings and discussions, can find more information here.

  • Brenda Louise Hudson

    FOREIGNID: 15716
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hello Katrina Browne:
    I’d like to congratulate you for your well-thought out documentary, and I believe you have started a challenging journey. Why not take a step further, those in your family who are truth seekers, and genuinely wish to make a difference? Wouldn’t you like to establish a rapport, validating the lives of any or some of the mulattoes that may have dangled unnoticed from your family tree?
    I’m sure that through an assocation with AAHGS (Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society in Washington, DC) you may find genealogists who would be willing to assist you. I’m currently a member and would be glad to help you with your research .
    Or, why not contact Henry Lewis Gates at Harvard University for assistance? His recently aired PBS specials, African American Lives, and his staff of genealogists could help you as well.
    I believe the healing process in your family could be easier facilitated when you connect, as opposed to maintaining division; “us and them”. Once you have established a connection with your distant cousins, those descendents they will become a real part of you. You’d no longer promote the “our family and their family, but our family”. This would become I imagine a very poignant for your family to be seen in a light that may provide a path that other families might consider to effectively bridge the racial divide here. Taking the genealogical approach is a tedious process, but I believe it can bear the most exciting and gratifying fruits.
    Don’t you believe that the lives of those slaves that were transported from Africa to Cuba and the US are valuable enough to investigate? Their stories, however silent, could be validated if exposed. Your family will forever be tied to theirs, but unless the dry bones are brought to life, it remains imagination. If I can assist you, pllease contact me.
    My passion for genealogy and history came from my father, Jerry Johnson who passed in California in 1991. He was Senior VP of Johnson Publishing Company, and he immersed me in books written to inspire me to learn continually about our history in the US. My Cornell University African history professor, John Henrik Clarke carried on from there.
    Brava!!!! Katrina, thank you for stepping out on your comfort zone to take your trip, and confront those uneasy emotions. As my mom says, “you have to face it to erase it!” Keep up the good work!
    Sincerely,
    Brenda Louise Hudson
    Pembroke Pines, FL
    Genealogist

  • frank

    FOREIGNID: 15717
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I don’t understand why anytime this discussion comes up it has to be a discussion of who is culpable and who is not. No living soul is culpable for such atrocities against humanity. The only culpable entity is this government. This government sponsored, sanctioned and supported slavery. If you were not part of the government that instituted slavery then you are not responsible but have a role to play in improving race relations. If you are part of government you certainly have an obligation to advocate for truth and justice even if it means making amends for events that took place before your time but clearly have an impact on the society we live in today. This is why at minimum an apology is needed from our government. Katrina and the De Wolf’s I will be contacting you shortly to update you on my efforts in Connecticut. You must be involved in this process.

  • Brenda Louise Hudson

    FOREIGNID: 15718
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hello Again Katrina:
    I neglected to submit a way for you to contact me if you care to do so. I can be reached at (954) 665-6517
    Again, despite whatever negative comments you may receive, your work is appreciated by scores of people. No doubt you will put people in touch with their indifference. And acknowledging that there is no current cure for indifference, most of us realize that God fashions the heart, God has a plan for you and if you are obedient, He will bless you!
    Continue to blossom wherever God plants you!
    Sincerely,
    Brenda Louise Hudson
    Pembroke Pines, FL

  • Linda DeWitt Hughey

    FOREIGNID: 15719
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Was not able to see the program on June 24th. Will there be a repeat or a possiblity of purchase? My 3x great grandfather was Captain Abner Mosher of Bristol, Rhode Island. He was Commander and Master of various DeWolfe’s ships. Have you ran across his name? My cousin and I have a deep fascination with the relationship between the Moshers and the DeWolfes and the infamous trade that they were involved in. Our 3x great grandfather died in August of 1815 in New Orleans, whether in the city or off the coast, who knows? We do believe that he was sailing a ship owned by the DeWolfe’s. This was the summer after the Battle of New Orleans.
    Captain Mosher’s daughter Elizabeth married my 2x great grandfather, William Thomas DeWitt SR of Society Hill, South Carolina on September 15 1830 at the Catholic Congregational Church in Bristol. If you have any information that you would like to share, I would appreciate it. And would the rest of the descendants of William Thomas DeWitt Sr and Elizabeth Mosher DeWitt!

  • Linda DeWitt Hughey

    FOREIGNID: 15720
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Whoops, forgot to congratulate you for taking this journey! Myself and other genealogists uncover many things about our ancestors every day that we may raise our eyebrows at, but this is our history. Good or bad, this is what made us what we are and what our future generations will be. My family now is a jumble of Dutch, English, Welsh, Itailian, French, Cajun, Native American and African American. Now would that have given my ancestors a canipshun?????? You bet!
    Linda DeWitt Hughey
    Coweta, Oklahoma

  • http://www.tracesofthetrade.org Katrina Browne

    FOREIGNID: 15721
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Marguerite, Laura, Amy, Jon and Jessica: your questions are related– questions of family records that can help African Americans retrace their history, and questions of connections to black descendants today.
    The ownership of enslaved Africans by the DeWolfs was primarily in Cuba, so we have some records, but that is relevant to Afro-Cubans not African-Americans. It will be easier to make connections in Cuba that could be meaningful if the political situation changes. A small number of people were enslaved by the DeWolfs in Rhode Island, and we know of two people who might be descendants (one who has been part of dialogues we’ve had, and one who just called my cousin Tom a few weeks ago!). The huge numbers were people brought on DeWolf ships to the U.S. (and the West Indies) to be sold at auction and they were not recorded by name. But I was inspired (later, after filmed journey) by something called the Priscilla Project to realize that if we connect with Southern descendants of slave-owners who have records, sometimes it becomes possible to make links. Often those families have records of who they purchased (Africans who they subsequently renamed) and which ships/traders they purchased from on a given date. So if, for example, the Ball family records showed purchases from the DeWolfs in Charleston, then we would know that descendants of those people were connected to the DeWolf trading and we could maybe identify what region in West Africa those people were brought from. I think the key thing is for all white families that have records to make them available through historical societies, precisely so that African Americans can gather whatever information exists. I’ve had so many people tell me that one of the greatest sources of pain is that disconnection—not knowing even basic information about one’s ancestors from the period of slavery, let alone about prior lives in communities in West Africa. Meanwhile, there are DeWolf descendants who have married people of African descent and other people of color. I think it’s safe to say that inter-racial marriage can add a whole other layer of intensity and insight to relationships, and ties to enslavement even more so.

  • http://www.tracesofthetrade.org Katrina Browne

    FOREIGNID: 15722
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    From Katrina:
    Patricia, “White Boy”, and Ed,
    OK, so these are really loaded questions that you are each asking in different but related ways. I get asked this a lot: “Why is this my problem, if my people came after the Civil War and slavery, especially if they suffered a lot (either in Europe and/or here in the U.S.)?” As some of you have suggested: “Don’t lump me into the same ‘white’ category as you DeWolf descendants.”
    First, a clarification for the person who called himself “white boy.” In the film, Tom was being sarcastic when he said “Yeah, we’re really representative of white America!” during the dinner scene where we discover that all of our fathers, except his, went to Ivy League schools. With his sarcasm he was basically saying: “We’re clearly NOT representative of white America.” Tom is more “typical” than the rest of us, since his branch became Iowa farmers and were not in the elite as much as portions of the rest of our families have been. But the terms “representative” and “typical” will surely get me in hot water.
    Some thoughts:
    1. Many people have suffered many things, often based on belonging to one group or another, throughout human history. I personally don’t think it helps to get into comparisons of who suffered more. That ends up pitting groups against each other who really have a shared interest in making the system work better for everybody.
    2. Part of what makes categorizing groups of people and stereotyping so cruel is that humanity doesn’t fit neatly into categories. So Patricia, it is so true that your aunt runs the risk of being misperceived if people don’t ask her her story and thus learn how she was victimized.
    3. I think that the challenge for us as European-Americans (I really wanted to use that term in the film, but it can be unwieldy) is to see how the concept of “whiteness” got invented, basically, to put forward the idea that we were superior and that those with darker skin were inferior. So now, centuries after than invention, we each have to figure out our relationship to the category—how it helped (still helps) our people relative to those lumped into the category “black”—and how it was that each of our families may have struggled too.
    4. You may be interested to know that I also have Irish immigrant ancestors who worked in textile factories in New Jersey. They were poor when they got here in the late 19th century, after slavery was abolished. But by the third generation they were solidly middle class and then moved up to being upper middle class, and marrying into the DeWolf descendant line. It’s a classic tale of struggle, but then an ability to move up in ways that were incredibly difficult for African Americans given the massive discrimination that followed slavery for at least 100 years. I also have ancestors who owned factories during the Industrial Revolution and who probably treated workers very poorly.
    5. It seems that a lot of us who are white who don’t think of ourselves or our people as racist, are inclined to think we don’t need to be part of the solution to the inequality that is still there at the level of larger trends (there are always exceptions). Even I can say “I didn’t do it.” But I’ve come to see the advantages I’ve gotten—and they are more than most people of any race get, no question—as meaning that I have a responsibility to help contribute to a more equitable society. Everyone can take their own measure based on their family history, but generally speaking, white privilege gives a leg up, even today.
    6. Ultimately, I guess I’m a believer in the idea that we’ll do better if we spread compassion around and look at what kind of society we all want to create. Looking to the past runs the RISK of shifting the conversation to blame and competing victimhoods, but my hope was that it could create greater understanding. Given the high tensions and distrust that persist between black Americans and others (white and also other people of color), it makes sense to figure out where all the intensity comes from…. how we all inherited this mess that none of us created. And to the extent that anyone or any group is suffering, let’s do something about it.
    There’s so much more to say on all this—especially since a lot of it is heartbreaking stuff—but I’ll stop there.

  • http://blog.jdewperry.com James DeWolf Perry

    FOREIGNID: 15723
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Linda, we’re aware of your ancestor, Captain Abner Mosher of Bristol, R.I., since he’s recorded as commanding one slaving voyage, the Commerce out of Bristol in 1797.
    This particular voyage, however, was for Sam Wardwell and Shearjashub Bourn, not the D’Wolf brothers. It sounds as though his work with the D’Wolfs probably involved commanding other trading vessels, not in the slave trade, but perhaps you know more?
    If you’d care to contact us, you can find our e-mail addresses on the Traces of the Trade web site. This is also where you can find information about purchasing a DVD of the film.

  • Twan X

    FOREIGNID: 15724
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Though I believe your documentary made a good effort not only on a personal familial level but on a systemic and institutional level to address not just the legacy of slavery, but racism itself, and it belongs in the realm of such other documentaries as “The Color of Fear”, “Skindeep”, “What’s Race Got to Do With It?”, “Race: the Power of Illusion” and BBC’s “History of Racism” I think it falls into the typical black/white narrative, which is all well and nice and conveniently deals with an assuagement of guilt and travesty on one level, but what concern’s me is it typically ends there. It never takes the next logical step backward to deal with the issues and historical traumas as they relate to the White/Anglo-American and Indigenous (Native American Indian) relations, and the violence, oppression and racism that was necessary in order to lay the foundations for a future of plantation slavery. As long as this is avoided, it allows for a complete dismissal if not self congratulatory stance on finally “dealing with race”, but in fact its a blurring of historical truth in favor of not dealing with the root causes and conditions that underpin the American experience.
    Most particularly in New England, one of the 13 original colonies. Indigenous peoples are not “extinct”, nor should they be out of site out of mind, they are fundamental to the American reality. Check out the seminal work “Red, White and Black” by Gary Nash to understand what that means.
    The real roots of “America” are based on a trilateral relationship between the enslaved and oppressed populations of the Indigenous, the kidnapped African, and their Euro-American conquerors/masters. Thus far most race based explorations, avoid this largely because its more opportune to indulge the idea that the conquered no longer exist, than it is to truly embrace and confront the historical truth of an an ongoing Indigenous Genocide, and even more particularly the role of the private citizen and the church in this genocide. As elaborated upon in this here, in this discussion of the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URxtA2eIhQw

  • Beverley McCarther

    FOREIGNID: 15725
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    i wrote a comment on yesterday and i haven,t seen it i stay on the topic, and wonder why it wasn,t posted let be fair people, what stayed with me was the fact that a church sit on top of that slave castle and before the slave left though the door of no return they were baptisted in the name of god and given a christian name????? now you tell me ?? should black people be in any church?? praying to this god that let this happen i was told that god see everything and hear everything??? and nothing else if there a god he should have stop this by turning over ever boat that left that castle. i stop here to see if this get posted i have much more to say

  • Beverley McCarther

    FOREIGNID: 15726
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    i wrote a comment on yesterday and i haven,t seen it i stay on the topic, and wonder why it wasn,t posted let be fair people, what stayed with me was the fact that a church sit on top of that slave castle and before the slave left though the door of no return they were baptisted in the name of god and given a christian name????? now you tell me ?? should black people be in any church?? praying to this god that let this happen i was told that god see everything and hear everything??? and nothing else if there a god he should have stop this by turning over ever boat that left that castle. i stop here to see if this get posted i have much more to say

  • J.D. Smith

    FOREIGNID: 15727
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina and Tom, Good Day, I am a veiwer who has heard the D’Wolf family name mentioned, in scant stories thru out the years. My mother and her father were Negroes from Havana, Cuba. For about twenty years, I have done basic research on Slavery; Spain, British and U.S. Involvement. E-respond me. Of course, – especially,as an Ivy Leager- your film was nicely done. Next step suggestion: The Black ‘ D’Wolf ‘ Decendents/Children of the D’wolf Slaves…Today. I will await your e-response . Thanks J.D.

  • J.D. Smith

    FOREIGNID: 15728
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hello Katrina and Tom, Just posted a message:( J.D.Smith June 27,2008 12:42AM) The correct e-mail address is posted with this message: in case there was an error in the exact call letters of my e-address.

  • http://filmshorts@att.net Jesse RHINES, PhD

    FOREIGNID: 15729
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hi, I just saw the slavery movie and got a lot from it. My mother’s family is from Providence/Pawtucket RI. She was part Native American/Black/Irish. Might we be connected with the De Wolfs? Her father’s family was enslaved;by the Breckenridge’s of Fincastle VA who came to the UA with Thomas Jefferson, with whom the De Wolf’s were very close as well. I’d love to discuss this;.
    Peace,
    Jesse RHINES, Ph. D.

  • Paula E. Boothe

    FOREIGNID: 15730
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina, Thank you for the effort that you and your family put into handing the olive branch; so to speak. dear person if it was’nt for people like yourselves, Slavery would be legal. We all know there is and infinite amount of information that has not been brought to light, but It was started and you and others have continued to carry the yoke that the world wants to keep as a dirty little secret. keep up the dialog Katrina. Paula

  • A YEBOAH

    FOREIGNID: 15731
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. THIS HAS BEEN THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM THAT NOBODY WANTS TO TALK ABOUT. NOT MY PARENTS NOR YOURS, NOR THEIRS. “WHEN DID WE BECOME PARTNERS WITH THIS GREAT SILENCE”? SOMEONE APTLY ASKED. I AGREE, IT’S THE SILENCE THAT HAS KEPT THE REPRESSED GUILT AT BAY AND THE STAGNANT ANGER, SIMMERING. I APPLAUD YOU KATRINA FOR BEING SO BRAVE.
    I CRIED AND CRIED, NOT BELEIVING THAT AT LAST IT’S OUT THERE. IT’S ON THE TABLE…..FOR ALL TO SEE, MAYBE NOT ALL THE CARDS BUT AT LEAST WE HAVE PEAKED AT THEM. THERE’S BEEN A BREAKTHROUGH!
    I’M AN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN WHO IS MARRIED TO AN AFRICAN. LET ME TELL YOU, THEY FEEL GUILT TOO. VERY MUCH SO AND IT’S ALSO REPRESSED, DENIED AND GLOSSED OVER. THEY DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT BUT THEY FEEL IT TOO. I HEARD THE LITTLE AFIRCAN KID SAY TO THE WHITE MAN ” ARE YOU ASHAMED OF BEING HERE?’ . THAT WAS SO SUCCINCT AND APPROPO. THE MAN WAS INITIALY STUNNED AT SO BLOUNT OF A QUESTION. BUT HE ASKED IT OUT OF PURE CURIOISITY. HE ASKED WHAT EVERY BLACK AMERICAN ASK THEMSELVES WHEN THEY SEE A WHITE MAN, THAT IS “AREN’T YOU ASHAMED OF YOUR ANCESTORS”?
    WE NEED TO TALK AND HEAL AND MOVE ON. WE NEED ATONEMENT AND REPARATIONS. NO, NOT A CHECK IN THE MAIL. AND NOT BECAUSE IT WON’T MAKE PEOPLE “SYMPATHIZE” WITH OUR PLIGHT BUT BECAUSE THE CHILDREN NEED TO KNOW AND SEE WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO REPAIIR THE SITUATION, FOR GENERATIONS TO COME. WE NEED A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN OUR SOCIETAL POSITION AND STATUS, FOR POSTERITY. NOT FOR THE MOMENT FOR FOR THE FUTURE. WE NEED TO EXPLORE, TOGETHER, THE GREATNESS OF WHAT WE CAN CREATE TO REMEDY, RECTIFY AND RECONCILE THE PAST. WE NEED TO TALK AND CRY AND LAUGH. WE NEED TO EXPRESS OURSELVES FORTHRIGHTLY, OPENLY AND HONESTLY. WE NEED TO WORK THROUGH OUR EMOTIONS, HEAL AND GROW BETTER ,TOGETHER. IT MAY TAKE ANOTHER GENERATION TO ACCOMPLISH THE TASK BUT WE WILL ACHIEVE OUR GOAL IF WE PUT OUR HEART AND HEADS TOGETHER AS A PEOPLE, AMERICANS. GOD BLESS AMERICA, FOREVER!

  • Marvalene

    FOREIGNID: 15732
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina
    I felt your sincerity and was deeply moved. As I continued watching the documentary I started to feel that spirit of boldness that I always felt was lacking in me. Thank you for your honesty.
    The attachment was written after I had this incredible dream of seeing millions and millions and millions of Black People coming together on this wide open field and there I was just hovering above them.
    I awoke from that dream puzzled and somewhat disturbed. My co-worker who had come in to wake me so she could take her break saw the look on my face and asked if I was having a nightmare. I told her about the dream and she look at me rather strangely and said “How strange that you should be telling me this since only yesterday in church my pastor told the congregation that it was time that the issue of reparations be discuss in the church” “Reparation? What’s that? I asked her. She said its black people’s inheritance.
    Since that night, I have felt compel by some invisible force to learn all I could about Slavery. I use to consider myself shy and afraid of not being grammatically correct or using the wrong word. I have a ninth grade education and until tonight never consider myself to be competent enough to discuss the content of my attachment.
    I don’t want to return to my shell. Please respond with your opinion to my attachment.THE REPARATION PERIOD
    The Prophecy of Genesis Chapter 15 verses 13 and 14 amounts the debt to be 400 years, God claims 10 percent as His, therefore the Reparation Period for Blacks Self Reliance must be 40 years.
    THE METHOD
    Petition to be place on the ballot to be voted on if not too late for the first time on the 2008 election. 40 years since Martin Luther King’s death.
    TERMS AND CONDITIONS
    PART A
    BLACKS’ CONTRIBUTIONS
    All Blacks that expects to be a beneficiary of the REPARATION 40 TRUST ; must contribute $48,000 as Atonement Offering for Blacks Disobedience to their Creator. This will be use as a life long maintenance fee for the life long upkeep of the new homes.(10 percent of the 40 years is 4, multiply by the 12 Biblical Tribes of Israel)
    PAYMENT OPTIONS
    1. Out of Pocket in one lump sum payment
    2. Apply for guaranteed no interest loan from newly establish savings and loans institutions that will be available in local communities.
    Repayment plan can be done over 4 years for those who can afford @1000 a month; For those who can only afford $100 a month it will take the entire 40 years.
    Blacks now being aided by the Goverment for whatever reason will have automatic deduction from their benefits(minimum of $100 per month ) to repay their loans.
    In addition each Reparation recipient must agree to save at least 10 percent of their income without withdrawal. At the end of the Reparation Period quarterly dividends will be paid to beneficiaries and or assigned heirs according to family tree for all future generations to come. All head of household above age 18 should apply with the newly established Reparation 40 Trust Savings and Loan institution. The pooling of our financial resources will be the starting point to Black Unity.
    Part B
    America’s Contribution
    1. Establish in every State 40 Savings and Loan Institutions to provide the funding for these low documentation, no interest, government guaranteed loans within 30 days of submission of application. Starting with the Homeless on Skid Row then from other blacks from the most economically needy to the least.
    2.Stop the immediate taxing of all working blacks.
    3. Immediately forgive all tax debts of all blacks without any claim request form requirement.
    4. Government will continue to pay for the medical needs of disabled blacks for 40 more years and be permanently responsible for all disabled blacks veterans.
    5. Government will pay for the cost of all Land, Labor and materials needed to built Solar Powered, retrofitted, all weather proof structures with underground disaster shelters for each Black who apply and makes at least the first payment on his maintenance loan paid to the Reparation 40 Trust Inc. on his/her behalf.
    6. Pay for the cost of Land, Labor and materials to build in each State 40 Schools (Pre-K through University) With no interference from the Government as to the curriculum.
    7. Pay for the cost of Land , Labor and materials to build in each State 40 Hospitals to be owned and operated by blacks with out Government interference in its policies and procedures.
    8. Pay for the cost of Land, Labor and materials to build in each State 4 Prisons to be owned and operated by blacks without Government interference as to the mode of rehabilitation.
    9. All Blacks with the experience in building must be considered first for the various positions that will become available for the building of these new structures.
    10. AT the end of the 40 years pay the cost for Repatriation to the Motherland (Africa) for all blacks who so chose.
    If the American People fail to vote for this; then Blacks must reignite the flame that was dosed with the blood of Martin Luther King, starting with collectively withholding our votes.
    Blacks must go without and stay separate until the American People passes the Reparation Initiative.
    Thank You
    Marvalene from Los Angeles

  • http://blog.jdewperry.com/ James DeWolf Perry

    FOREIGNID: 15733
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Twan X, Katrina wasn’t able to include in the film, due to time constraints, a meaningful discussion of the intertwined issues among European settlers, indigenous peoples, and enslaved Africans in colonial and early U.S. history.
    However, you may be interested to know that Tom DeWolf, in his book about the journey, Inheriting the Trade, is able to discuss that history. As a family, moreover, we’re committed to revealing the history, and addressing the legacy, of the traumatic relations in our society among all racial and ethnic groups.
    J.D. Smith, we don’t have access to the e-mail address you provide when you post here. If you read this, please contact us. The same applies to Jesse Rhines. Thanks!

  • latangie bell

    FOREIGNID: 15734
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina, that was a major step. I am personnely satified that you had the courage to put yourself out there and speak honestly about the history of religion and slavery. I can only hope that, there are other white americans that will stand behind you in your quest for fogiveness, and for the record i do forgive you! thank you!

  • http://MusingsOnLifeOnEarth.blogspot.com Amirh Bahati

    FOREIGNID: 15735
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I thank the DeWolfs for their documentary. The documentary, as I saw it, was not an exercise in liberalism, socialism, political correctness or any of the other labels thrown around when we are asked to confront myth-busting truths concerning the present and past history of the United States. It is simply one family’s attempt to know and reconcile the atrocities of their ancestors and from there begin a dialogue. And that is not political. It’s spiritual. It’s psychological. It’s sociological.
    I am both African-American and Native (father’s mother, Cherokee), so I am descended from two so-called oppressed people. I am 60 years old, so my first introduction to the history of blacks was that we were born slaves and that the greatest thing we ever did was to produce a George Washington Carver. Period. So I have my own idea of what constitutes an open and honest discussion of race in America. It is one that includes black people hearing and speaking of the truth of African continental slavery (slavery in African cultures was generally indentured servitude: slaves were not chattel, nor enslaved for life), and African complicity in the Atlantic slave trade, however small the percentage is. It is one that includes a complete – repeat — complete history of African-Americans in this country, including our pre- and post-Civil War contributions (excluding the fields of entertainment and sports). How about a complete history of native people, the complete history of the forced Chinese labor as it related to the building of our railroads.
    Some say get over it and move on. Some say that the issue is centuries old. I think that individuals can move on, with or without a national discussion, but I also say that the country and its collective consciousness and karma cannot move on or be lightened without that discussion. This race issue is a festering sore that we bandage and bandage when what it needs is a good cleaning plus a course of antibiotics. Let’s get to the suppressed and repressed sources, everyone, bring them to the surface, and then send them on their way.
    The truth, as I see it, is this: (Past and Current) National Wealth = (Stolen) Land + (Forced, Unpaid) Labor. The emancipation of African and African-American slaves never guaranteed that blacks would enter that circle of wealth and power; we were, in fact, forcibly kept out of national participation until well into the 1960; in other words, we’ve come to the table late in our history.
    Reparations can arrive in many forms. For some, the form is monetary. For me, the form is the complete unadulterated truth.

  • frank

    FOREIGNID: 15736
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    To Merle Causey
    the issue of reparations is a moral one. My opinion is that reparations on a purely moral basis is certainly justified. Determining form of compensation, and identifying victims is a much harder sell. However on this issue of Africans selling themselves. Why don’t you forget about what Africans did to themselves and focus on what you can do to improve race relations in this country? As usual you are trying to shift blame and responsibility from yourself and dump it on those who may not have voice in this matter. Is this guilt, shame, fear or what. How many terrorists has this country identified as Americans, working with Alqaeda since 911? Has any country categorized America as a sponsor of terrorism. Maybe we should, in light of the issue we are discussing today and please don’t blab the usual line of being anti-american because there is no such thing.
    Also about the Civil War slavery was not the only reason for the war there were other reasons so don’t make it seem as if whites spilled their blood solely to free the slaves. They could care less about whether slaves lived or died.

  • Allana Elovson

    FOREIGNID: 15737
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I found your film, Traces of the Trade extremely moving. Dealing so deeply with a heritage you might have shrugged off as something’you didn’t do, yourself, was a courageous and powerfully ethical act, and all your companions in this quest are to be greatly admired for their struggle to come to terms with it. Persisting after your return to bring awareness to Bristol, and your church, rather than leaving it at that was also an act of great courage and responsibility. Kudos to you all. Let me know how I can help .

  • mike

    FOREIGNID: 15738
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    i am a history- buff, i saw your film, “traces of the trade”, last night, there is plenty of blame to go around re.: slavery, i.e.: other blacks, black-tribes, black- tribal- leaders, other slave- traders (white, black, brown), who captured and sold the black people of africa into slavery , in africa, in the 1600′s, 1700′s, and 1800′s. Ancient rome, sparta, egypt, mesopetamia, etc., had slaves/slavery, a terrible and brutal institution, then, afterwards or at any time. Perhaps, a good phrase to use is: get over it, it’s time to move on. I’d give your film a c- grade, on a a to f scale, (a being highest, f being lowest). Reparations, NO, (from whom to whom). An apology, perhaps, (but again to whom from whom.)

  • Remy Dubreus

    FOREIGNID: 15739
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I watch the documentary this morning and I would like to congratulate Katrine Browne for her courage, determination, and honesty. She traces one path of the slavery with references,maps, and dates. That’s wonderful. The slavery was a genocide and the new generation of white people is not resposible for that. The black community should understand that. I grew up in Haiti, a former French colony where the trade started around 1500′s by Spaniards and later by the Frenchs in 1625. But the africans in Haiti believed that “all men were created equal” and fought under the leadership of Toussiant Louverture, who in 1791 obtained from Framce the emancipation of the slaves meaining Liberty. This way, Haiti was the first pace where slavery was abolished. I would like to invite Katrina and her team to read the ” The life of Toussaind Louverture, the Negro Patriot of Haiti”. Later, on November18, 1803, after a bloody battle, the powerful army of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated. Then in 1804, Haiti became the first independent country in the world leading by the former slaves. We broke the chains of slavery and were the second country in america after USA. I bring this up because in america people do not talk much about that. As one of the team member said” We need to learn those things”, but sometimes nobody talks about it even in the africam american community itself. It looks like this never happened. In tracing the trade of slavery, Haiti represents a good archive that researchers need to focus on. Haiti advocated the idea of human rights and fullfilled it in the declaration of Independence on January 1, 1804 and at the same time in Cuba near Haiti, the trade was going on. Further research needs to be made to trace other paths of the trade in order to inform our generation about this shaming transaction that should not happen.

  • http://www.tracesofthetrade.org Katrina Browne

    FOREIGNID: 15740
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    To Afi, from Katrina:
    I have met with much less antagonism from African Americans than from European Americans. When it does come, antagonism from black Americans usually is from a place of thinking that we should have had more “main characters” who were black. Juanita Brown (Co-Producer) and I made a deliberate decision to focus on having inter-racial dialogue in each country (not all of that made it into the film) but also to follow white descendants as the main characters—showing us grappling with all the issues. In my 20’s I’d been told by a lot of people of color: “Go home!” “Talk to white people and work through whatever you guys need to work through in order to show up for the work of racial justice with less baggage.” They were basically tired of educating white people, and holding our hands through all the feelings that come up when we look at painful pasts and presents. So Juanita and I thought it would be powerful to show that “homework” being done.
    Thanks for asking.

  • http://www.tracesofthetrade.org Katrina Browne

    FOREIGNID: 15741
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    To Jennifer, from Katrina:
    You asked on 6/24 re: hiring people of color to work on the film. I think you posted before the film was on TV, so hopefully you met Juanita in the film. If you read the last post, I share about some of the influence she had. You might also be interested in two articles in which she speaks more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/27/AR2008062703763.html
    http://www.documentary.org/content/ties-bind-family-faces-its-dark-history-traces-trade
    The second article also has a section from (white) Co-Director Jude Ray in which she talks about how we had both a white U.S. camera crew and crews from the countries we were in: Ghanaian and Cuban, and then also African-American crew members in the U.S., so that we could have more sensitivity for people we were meeting with, and so the film could “see” with different eyes.
    I’m also indebted to African American advisors and our Consulting Producer Llew Smith. The film would have suffered with out all the different perspectives that were brought to bear… including that of the Editor/Co-Director Alla Kovgan who is Russian!
    Thanks for your question.

  • http://www.tracesofthetrade.org Katrina Browne

    FOREIGNID: 15742
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    To Jennifer, from Katrina:
    You asked on 6/24 re: hiring people of color to work on the film. I think you posted before the film was on TV, so hopefully you met Juanita in the film. If you read the last post, I share about some of the influence she had. You might also be interested in two articles in which she speaks more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/27/AR2008062703763.html
    http://www.documentary.org/content/ties-bind-family-faces-its-dark-history-traces-trade
    The second article also has a section from (white) Co-Director Jude Ray in which she talks about how we had both a white U.S. camera crew and crews from the countries we were in: Ghanaian and Cuban, and then also African-American crew members in the U.S., so that we could have more sensitivity for people we were meeting with, and so the film could “see” with different eyes.
    I’m also indebted to African American advisors and our Consulting Producer Llew Smith. The film would have suffered with out all the different perspectives that were brought to bear… including that of the Editor/Co-Director Alla Kovgan who is Russian!
    Thanks for your question.

  • http://www.tracesofthetrade.org Katrina Browne

    FOREIGNID: 15743
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thanks Margo… great suggestion! The full-length credits weren’t on the broadcast… over 500 people/institutions, but George Howe was indeed missing from longer ones.

  • Kathleen Devine

    FOREIGNID: 15744
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Katrina,
    In the film, you pose the question how can we (and I believe you were including your family but also the society as a whole) do. I hope you have a conversation with Dr. Belinda Williams who has worked nearly 35 years on closing the achievment gap. There are practices that can be used in the classrooms of our country (and others) that enhances learning and has already been shown to improve skills of reading, writing, and mathematics.
    Her book is http://www.ascd.org/portal/site/ascd/menuitem.b71d101a2f7c208cdeb3ffdb62108a0c/template.book?bookMgmtId=0829fa36dfcaff00VgnVCM1000003d01a8c0RCRD
    She is very willing to work with any district to incorporate these teaching strategies to address diversity and achievement.
    If somehow her and those who want to address the achievment gap in the school system could be supported, education will go a long way. That is how Ireland brought its population our of the third world that it was in at 1920′s and now is a competitive European community member.
    If you have any trouble locating her or her books, please ask me I will get you her email address. She spoke at my alma mater, Monmouth University and is
    very approachable. Many of her books are published by ASCD.org.
    This would be my approach. I am biased as I am a product of that improved Irish education and then immigration to again improved education and now I have three 3 degrees. Of my four grandparents, one finished the thrid grade, one finished the sixth, one finished the 8th grade and one finished high school (unfornately this one died in childbirth when my father was 7).
    I think you would enjoy her perspective and vision but most importantly her ability tochang school systems and teaching and teachers. She changed me.
    Kathleen Devine

  • http://sites.google.com/site/mariemcmarrow marie mcmarrow

    FOREIGNID: 15745
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Katrina Browne’s documentary came across as a sensitive and honest exploration of finding a solution to an event that can never be forgotten.However I was concerned that this also was one family’s project. One small group trying to shed an implied acceptance for the atrocity of 400 years slavery.Dewolf’s deals are written in history.They cannot erase that just as his blood flows in them.What I liked was the advocacy that resulted in action by the Episcopal church. Education is key for both whites and blacks. When we can say education for Americans rather than whites and blacks we would have done the job. One thing to do is to refund college expenses to blacks who achieve a college education. Dewolf was a businessman , I think he would be proud of Katina.Congrats Katrina. Please visit my website and see what I have been doing. This is my way of looking for an answer within myself. I found consolation in reviving the music produced in the heart of human suffering.

  • Cole Kirkpatrick

    FOREIGNID: 15746
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    The idea of reparations to African Americans is completely preposterous. I caught the tail end of the documentary so I can only imagine what filth I missed. I did hear Ms. Brown speak of reconciliation. Everybody understands slavery maybe wasn’t the best idea but neither was killing developmentally challenged people which was a common practice around the same time as slavery. Where are their reparations? What would be considered exceptable reparations, money? I already pay taxes which go to fund agencies such as medicaid, medicare, wellfare, and so on. Ms. Browne also made the comment “The American economy’s foundation lies on slavery.” I’m pretty certain the foundation of the American economy lies on J.D. Rockefeller and the industrial revolution. Reparation to me would be figuring out why 41% of the prison population is black yet they make up only 12.4 percent of the U.S. population or why seven out of ten black children have no father figure. Blacks aren’t the only race who have been enslaved. My Irish ancestors were endentured servants but you don’t hear them crying about repartaions. The reason being they cared more about their kids than they do themselves and did without so their next generation would have a better life. You want reparations? Get them from the tribe in Africa that sold it’s own people. Had there not been slavery black people wouldn’t be able to piss away their free education they are given is this country. I refuse to feel guilty for something I had no part in and furthermore, I believe slaves had better lives as slaves than they did running from lions in Africa. When a farmer buys a brand new John Deere tractor he takes care of it, he doesn’t treat it badly or tear it up. Reparations for slavery is reverse racism. Expecting white people today to take responsibillity for something we had no control over just because we’re white.
    Facts:
    There are more black men in prison than in college.
    Out of 2,299,116 prisoners in America 41% are black, 26% are white, 20.8% are hispanic.
    12.4% of the American population is black.
    edited by moderator for content

  • http://www.shoutlife.com/KARLOGLESBY karl oglesby

    FOREIGNID: 15747
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Forwarded Message:
    Subj: Please forward to Katrina Brown/”Traces of the Trade”-legacy of the Dewolfe’s
    Date: 6/25/2008 8:19:29 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
    From: Karllovesjesus
    To: hitv@pov.org
    I am currently completing a book titled: “By This You Shall Know Them?”, which I’ve written in hopes of improving race relations within the Body of Christ in Columbia, SC and elsewhere. I would love to have you do the forword as one who has courageously determined to bean instrument of reconciliation.
    Karl A. Oglesby
    Author/Poet/Artist
    “Of Our Souls Torn Apart’
    Now, as we work to become one in Him
    Of forgiveness, reconciliation we speak.
    Incorruptible seeds of longing
    Now to be sown,
    In hearts made fertile by His Spirit, His Peace.
    Of enormous spectacles of suffering
    Blood washed walls of tears.
    Which became the foundation which now divides us
    Turning our hearts away.
    We must not turn our backs on one another
    We must pray for a Spirit of repentance from God,
    Longing for His Love to fill our hearts.
    Longing for our hearts to burn with fires of intercession,
    Longing only, finally, to love.
    To become Holy habitations for His Heart.
    Bless us, oh my Savior,
    With heartfelt desire to forgive.
    For past sins of our mothers and fathers
    Our neighbors, fellow patriots and friends.
    For all of our history together, bound at the hip are we.
    For all our history together denied,
    Never having repented or reconciled,
    For each our past sins against one another.
    I say to you now my brethren,
    Be my friend, finally.
    As we choose the liberty, the freedom
    Of His forgiveness and his peace.
    For we have but one way to go
    Forward, into our future together.
    Hand in hand
    Heart to heart
    Resolved to end our shared suffering.
    Souls once in the bondage of darkness
    Now lit by Love’s Holy Fire,
    Longing only to be forgiven
    For having committed such atrocities.
    And even if you are unable to reach out
    Extend your whole hand to me…
    May we at least share our tears?
    And our desire to hope for inner peace.
    Knowing that nothing is impossible
    For the God, we both love.
    As long as we are willing
    To give and receive it.
    Our only regret, is that we’ve waited so long
    To try, to begin
    To walk and talk.
    Dedicated to the Dewolfe family
    and the people of Bristol.
    Written by Karl A. Oglesby, Sr.
    Copyright 2008
    THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM!
    Oh Lord, broaden my shoulders,
    Enlarge my heart!
    Expand my dreams and vision
    Increase my faith!
    Enhance my faith to believe for the impossible!
    That which can only be achieved through thee!
    To set goals in the realm of the impossible
    Limited only by the spiritual boundaries of thy ‘Word’!
    Grant me the power needed, by your Spirit!
    With which to realize impossible dreams!
    That I might capture, see the fruition
    Of the visions set before me
    By ‘Destiny’!
    For, as with the birth of Jesus
    The very incarnation,
    Of wondrous, supernatural impossibility!
    I commit my way to you ‘Precious Lord’,
    To assure the accomplishment
    Of every, impossible dream!
    Written by Karl A. Oglesby, Sr.
    Copyright 2005
    Karl A. Oglesby, Sr. , Author/Poet/Artist/Songwriter
    “Victory Is Grace!”/(Xlibris Publishing, 2004)
    http://www.xlibris.com/Victory is Grace!.html
    karllovesjesus@aol.com
    http://www.shoutlife.com/karloglesby
    803-359-9708
    THE PRECIOUS LOVE OF GOD
    Oh to know the precious love of God . . .
    As wide as the skies of blue
    Ever growing as the galaxy!
    Rolling billows of sweetest tender mercy
    Wave upon wave
    Unending, unceasing grace,
    Calling out . . . ever so gently . . .
    “Come my child . . .
    Follow me.”
    An empty vessel am I now
    Fill me oh Lord
    With thy Precious Holy Power,
    Spirit of mercy
    Spirit of grace
    Unending, never ceasing
    Always gently calling . . .
    “Come my child . . .
    Follow me.”
    For every bad choice I have made
    Consequences too many to number . . .
    Tears . . . overflowing like rain
    Lost . . . deep in sorrow,
    His precious love never left me alone
    Always calling . . . gently so . . .
    “Come my child . . .
    Follow me.”
    From the very depths of deepest depression
    To the heights of foolish vain pride . . .
    Your precious love was ever present
    Bathing my soul all the while.
    As the universe grows ever wider
    Ever expanding beyond all time
    The love of God
    has been shed abroad to overflowing . . .
    Filling my heart
    With His precious Holy Love . . .
    Oh love of God
    How wonderful!
    How magnificent
    is thy name . . .
    Whether called by grace or mercy . . .
    Love . . . is yet still thy name.
    Oh love of God
    Sweet, sweet spirit . . .
    More than enough
    For one and all.
    Love so uniquely magnificent!
    Enough to fill
    Every heart
    In the world!
    Oh wash me . . . bathe me
    In thy precious love
    Forever, evermore as today.
    And may all whose path
    I may cross
    Come to know you . . .
    By your love in me.
    By the hand that’s always reaching
    Out in loving grace . . .
    By my willingness to sacrifice
    And give all that I am . . .
    As you, have freely given to me.
    Karl A. Oglesby, Sr. , Author/Poet/Artist/Songwriter
    Latest book, “Victory Is Grace!”/(Xlibris Publishing, 2004)
    Metamorphosis Ministries USA
    300 Palmetto Park Blvd., #1116
    Lexington, SC 29072-7886
    803-359-9708

  • G Clayton Taylor

    FOREIGNID: 15748
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    As an Black American living here in Providence for the last 20 years, I applaud you, Katrina, for taking an honest though hurtful look at slavery and it’s implications even now in 2008.
    Though there are many, many things that bothered me about your exercise, I’d rather speak on the resolutions passed by your church and the significance of those.
    The Church (in all it’s forms) sat idly by during these years and, by it’s silence, legitimized and gave it merit, a sense of proprietary and it’s blessing!
    As I go through my daily routine, there’s not a single day that I’m not (in some way) reminded of my skin color. As you all stated how difficult it would be for any of you to go to a Black Play, movie or event of any kind. You should be glad you’re afforded that option!
    I’m sorry, I’m getting off track, I’ll try at another time…..

  • nick

    FOREIGNID: 15749
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    After reading (with great humor I might add) the unbalanced diatribe of Marvalene it is no wonder that HUSSEIN is running for president and might win. I have no guilt of slavery and have no intention of paying reparations. Many “non believers” who watch TAX PAYER FUNDED PBS are keeping an eye what what the radical left are thinking and intending to do with this country. I suggest that Katrina and all you other do-gooders give all your money away and work in servitude for the racist Rev Wright at his multi-million dollar estate as gardners. Then maybe get the biggest slave trader of all, the catholic church (currently headed by an ex HITLER YOUTH – notice I did not state he was a NAZI), to liquidate its’ trillions and give it all back. If you think race relations are a problem now wait until HUSSEIN and Rangel push reparations through congress. Also, since Bristol is obviously the most horrid place in the country, the Fourth of July parade should be forever banned. Will the Last American Standing please take the flag down and close the lights.

  • http://ilovemylifebrothersandsisters.blogspot.com/ Sandra Hammel

    FOREIGNID: 15750
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This is a copy of the Comment Policy: found here Comment Policy
    The P.O.V. Blog encourages conversation and debate around issues, events and ideas related to documentary film.
    - The editorial staff of the P.O.V. Blog reserves the right to take down comments it deems inappropriate.
    - Profanity, personal attacks, off-topic posts, advertisements and spam will not be tolerated.
    I find some of the comments “personal attacks” and I hope the “Comment Policy” will be followed through and the personal attack comments will be removed.

  • http://ilovemylifebrothersandsisters.blogspot.com/ Sandra Hammel

    FOREIGNID: 15751
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for sharing your family story and personal journey via PBS. A story that needed to be told. Thank you for having the courage to begin the journey and put the film together for us to learn and grow from.
    As I live across the Mt. Hope bridge that was shown at the beginning and end of the film, it really brought the story “home” for me. So appropriate to air the documentary right before the Bristol Fourth of July parade.
    It is human nature not to like people who point out our flaws, our mistakes and our bad behavior. We don’t like to feel uncomfortable. But an honest look at our past, acceptance of the truth and courage to be better human beings would do wonders to heal our own emotional wounds. And also would go leap years toward healing humankind’s wounds. Thank you and your small group of family members who were willing to take this process on.
    Sharing the legacy is one candle in the darkness of ignorance. As most people offered this journey chose not to respond, it is only another mirror to humankind at large who avoid the truth by avoidance. Truth is the standard by which we will find OUR Freedom.

  • Frederik DeWolf

    FOREIGNID: 15752
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    At the opening of the film you said you contacted some 200 of your relatives. That seems like quite a few ‘know relatives’ (to me anyway).
    You mentioned a grandmother wrote a bit about your family history, did you do any more work to establish your genealogy?
    Are you finding now that the film is airing that your relatives want to Claim you or Disown you?

  • Sheila F. Waters

    FOREIGNID: 15753
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Ms. Browne
    Are you familiar with the movement out of Amherst, MA (Barbara Love) that utilizes Liberation Theory to help people Unlearn Racism? It is an excellent if intense, but loving mode of social change dealing one person at a time where whites dialog with whites and blacks with blacks before coming together in mutual respect and appreciation. And have you considered that resolving the issue of reparations does not have to mean that only descendant of slavers owe a debt? Have you thought about the fact that the debt has been so diffused into our culture that it would be too hard to know who should pay and who should receive? In other words, all white people enjoy unearned privilege to some degree and all people of color are to some extent disadvantaged. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to discuss how to level the field for everyone? Wouldn’t it be great if education were free to all students who maintained a B average? Or if everyhone had free access to quality healthcare? Don’t you think guilt is an unhealthy emotion that iis best dissipated through positive action as well as dialog? Thank you so much for what you have begun.

  • William Ethridge

    FOREIGNID: 15754
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    In watching your film, it was as if I could see a large roadmap, animated with the little marching dotted lines weaving it’s way around and geting off the road at points and returning, and then, you took a turn down what I considered a dark, unproductive trail that ulimately ended up in a strange uncomfotable place with no way back, but through the bowels of a once sinking ship that had been arighted enough to carry on, except with every step you were pulling out the the little dams and corks that kept it from sinking. Now faced with those prospects, began trying to not drown in it’s despair all over again. Instead of just plugging holes, you watched the water rush in and think about maybe what kind of patch would work best rather than the “stop the bleeding!” exercise usually done in panic. I missed the first 10 minutes, then realized the intense emotional searching going on by most everyone involved. It was at that point I said to the TV, don’t go there!!! It’s going to take you somewhere you allready know exists!, and it’s painful! I understand your need to discover so many things that have escaped you before, and now feel too close for comfort and the guilt by association aspect of this new bit of family history. I am going to ask a question, but please listen to what I say, and it is my hope that it will relieve some “guilt” as it’s been put, over the ramifications of that period in our history. My question is a story. I’m sure you have heard many by now. In my Grandparents cemetary in Snowball Arkansas, is the grave of a young african boy. He was about the same age as my father who grew up there. The story has it that they worked together in the rural fields tending to what crops there were at the time with mules pulling their implements. This would have been in the late 20′s or very early 30′s. His parents had been slaves, and were buried somewhere else, I think. They had stayed in Snowball after they were freed and worked on the same farms where they were, as many slaves did my father told me. Their relationship was of more interest to me because of the circumstances. My father and his parents weren’t wealthy, and didn’t own slaves,, and sharecropped a little, as my Grandmother was the Postmistress and ran the General Store and Pool Hall. My Grandfather liked to drink a little whiskey after a day in the fields. They were Scotts/Irish. My father told me one story that sticks with me. They did plow along together during the day, and at some point the mules would get stubborn, and the little african boy would get so mad at his team he would start screaming at them. He had a spech impediment that when he became excited, you couldn’t understand him. My father would try to calm this boy down, and help gather the mules in. He said they didn’t talk much about the times, but did eat together on some occasions, and that the family they were with were civil and law abiding. That seemed to please my father in that, they were getting past that ugly part of the journey, and back to surviving, together. Every trip we have taken over the years to that cemetary he has pointed out the grave, and has flowers for him. My father has passed away, and now I feel it’s my responsibility to carry that on because the love of my father is guiding me to do so. I wish I knew that boy the way my father did I always thought. They had a friendship that came about out of necessity, need. It trancended the obvious circumstances of a not too far removed hurtful time, and the baggage left behind. They moved on, and it didn’t take a lot of conversation as far as I know. It helped that they were children of course. So here I am born of two people, one who solved life’s problems with hard work and if you work hard, others around you work hard, and there is your solidarity, honor, forgiveness and grace. It’s a common need met by common duty.
    My mother was a woman who looked for the best in everyone first. It was always her mission in life to make everyone welcome and comfortable. I was about 5 years old, living in Harrison, Arkansas, a notoriously racist little place, that I never picked up on because there weren’t any africans there. I only saw african americans on TV in black and white. I didn’t understand any of the things that were going on in the early sixties, other than slavery had to be bad, and why are people fighting over the rules that set them free? My first encounter was at the zoo in Little Rock, Arkansas where when I spotted a black family with a little girl about my age. I pronounced loudly, MOMMY! Look Negro’s! She pinched me so hard I started crying which drew more attention to the situation and I never saw the elephants. She had to explain to me about being sensitive, and how that could be taken as an insult to point them out like that. I was just thrilled to them in person. They were like movie stars to me. Even innocence doesn’t survive that scenario I guess. So into my adult life I have worked side by side with black people for the last 30 years or so, and many different situations have come up regarding the races. I finally resolved to my self I develop in my own mind a position I could deal with, not so much the easiest path, but not a path of denial either. A position that if I had to relate to a black person, would in my heart of hearts explain the way I see things, not insult or diminish anyone, and put in real time the day at hand, and what I think we owe each other. Yes, each of us owe in the end. Here it is, and how it works out of necessity. I was born November 22nd, 1960. This is practically 100 years after the emancipation proclamation was signed. I was brought into this world by two loving people who taught me to honor the good and diligent efforts of anyone who works hard every day, provides for and loves their family and neighbors. They pay their dues and taxes, doesn’t betray the trust of their friends or spoil the quiet enjoyment of rest at home. I owe you that, and that’s all I ask of you. If we’re doing that, then we are the same, exactly the same. I’m just one person I know, and it takes so many more to make it so simple, and it doesn’t sound like an apology or repair. It’s an affirmation that indeed we are there if we can agree on that. The last association with african americans I had before changing careers was more positive than any other I can remember. By the way, the shame is in the fact I have to point out the nationality for the purpose of making a point. Think about it…free yourself from that first. To be short, one man in particular. Billy, he had fallen in with the wrong crowd, done some time and was out on parole looking for work. I wwas a plant manager for a large printing company. He called on me several times over a few months looking to get back into printing, as he had ran the print shop in prison. He had experience which is great, but what he really had going for him was he didn’t care that I was a white guy holding the position, he talked to me at ease, and with no reluctance to discuss his previous slip, and it disarmed me. I didn’t want to pry out of him his past, it was the past. When the need arose, I called him and he came in and went to work. I was curious hw the rest of the plant would recieve him as scuttlebutt always gets around before your first day. But he came in, did the work, was diligent, eventually talked to me a little about his son who was a really good athelete that he was trying to steer him clear of bad people, and how obvious it was to him where he was going to be from here on. Billy was and still is my best memory of that place, because he had let all of the past go, or he was raised that way, or probably a little bit of both. And that I wasn’t going to dig up bones by dragging it all out and pulling the plugs out of the ship again, so we could spend countless discussions talking about dead people who did bad things. And then wondering if it was done right? That’s just one more opportunity to screw it up all over again. Ms. Browne, I am not a college educated man. I am a self taught industrial engineer, and over the course of 30 years have been involved in basically factory work from the bottom to the top. In our class of people, you will find that healing can almost be measured on the factory floor by just listening to the bantering of the sexes and races. It’s how it gets done. With laughter, ribbing, smart butt responses and always the goal is to come closer to getting through each day as happy as possible. It’s done out of basic need.
    Everyone is aware of the past. It’s just that people are focused on today. I don’t know about the situation you have inherited, and the feelings you must deal with. I do know it gives much more pause for thought, but I was pained to see you all grieving for events you could not change nor truly repair. All the apologies and money in the world cannot suffice the cruelties of mankind throughout history. It has happened, it is happening, and will happen some more, somewhere else. But not here. We’ve righted that ship, and I’m glad it happened before I was born. Every race on earth has suffered under tyrannical rule at some point, and we can’t just sit down and think we can take away the sting. For most of us, we have to get a job done, all races. We have to survuve, and sometmes that is the best motivator of all. No, you didn’t do anything. But you feel horrible about it. What your doing is what you feel individually you need to do, and I honor your resolve. I feel bad about it too. And I’m acutely aware every day about it still. I do however realize that common decency is needed right now, and I don’t have any way of earning it, unless I show it. I just worry that whoever dwells on the past, are in danger of being ruined by the past. We know it was wrong. You are obviously a very sensitve, brave and caring person, and wish you the best. There are a lot of people trying to do just as you are, in different ways according to their own abilities. It is an individual decision on how to approach it perhaps, and having no one speak for me please. I would feel cowardly I think. As of today, and every other day we’ll all owe each other the same thing. Common decency.

  • Paul

    FOREIGNID: 15755
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Ms. Browne, I was very moved by your work, and the strength with which your family members confronted their past. As an amateur genealogist myself, it was exciting to see you and your family members delve deeply and experientially into your past.
    My question…
    I found the discussion at the end about reconciliation to be very interesting. Recently, I read “Nixonland,” by Rick Perlstein, about the divisions in the US between 1966 and 1972. I believe that much of our political division today was caused by extremes on both sides, during those years. After reading “Nixonland,” I thought the US should go through a “truth and reconciliation” process about the war in Vietnam. Could you comment on how you think the process your family used to begin the reconciliation process might be used to help reconcile the deep divide caused by the war?
    Thank you again for your outstanding documentary.

  • Goïkoya Kolié

    FOREIGNID: 15756
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hi Katrina
    I want to thank you for the work that you have done in making this film. I’m originaly from Guinea and currentlly live in Montreal. Here are feew thinks i propose. Please don’t mind my english.
    I strongly don’t beleve that the reparation of slavery is financial or economic isses. The best reparation off slavery is to take actions against ignarance.
    1)u must teach the really story in american schools, to buth white and black students.
    2)America and Europ must stop supporting dictators in Africa and in the carabens.
    3) Talk about slavery like you do about holocost.
    4)Take drugs out of the black communities in America.
    5)Put a end to the new racism that let black people out of the american dream in term of find a decent job in private corporations.
    6)Declare the KKK illegal and denie them the right to continue the policy of that organisation. After what history has done to black people by white people the so called great democratie of the word should note allowed a antiblack movement to exist in the name of freedom of speach.
    Oneès again thanks for your work and please keep ding what you doing.
    Goïkoya Koli

  • http://www.pbs.org/pov/blog/2008/06/ask_the_filmmaker_traces_of_th_1.html Pam Waffle

    FOREIGNID: 15757
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My grandfather was Grover Cleveland DeWolfe (he added the “e” at the end). The names James and Otis are frequent in the family tree and I know we are descendants of ship builders. I have a sinking feeling that this is my family history. Grandpa was such a good guy that I always figured his side of the family would reveal itself to be a part of the Underground Railroad as he lived near the Canadian border. What a sad shocker. Grandpa was also a huge fan of Thomas Jefferson. Guess that goes back a bit, doesn’t it? And, yes, we’re all college educated; even my youngest just finished an advanced degree in Stanford after first graduating from the University of Chicago. Not ever a question of whether or not we’d go to college, very strong family tradition. Not rich though, and kind of glad now that I never inherited a dime from my side of the family.

  • http://blog.jdewperry.com/ James DeWolf Perry

    FOREIGNID: 15758
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Pam, if you’d like to see about making the family connection, please do contact us. You may well be a distant cousin. Our e-mail addresses can be found here, and you can also reach me through my blog.
    It’s interesting about Thomas Jefferson, as he was a conflicted figure regarding slavery. He owned slaves all his life, lamented the fact frequently, but was never willing to bankrupt his family to set them free. He was willing to do political favors to important supporters which encouraged the slave trade, yet he fought against the trade most of his life.
    Many people don’t know this about Jefferson, but his original draft of the Declaration of Independence cited the evils of the slave trade as one of the injustices perpetrated upon the American colonies by the British crown. (This passage was deleted by others before the document was finalized, of course.)
    Jefferson continued to argue against the slave trade for decades, and when the time approached when the Constitution would permit the federal government to limit the slave trade, he used his annual message to Congress to call for a total ban on the trade the moment the Constitution allowed. Congress passed just such a bill, and Jefferson himself signed the abolition of the U.S. slave trade into law. That act of abolition took effect in 1808, making this the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade in the U.S.
    My branch of the family, too, isn’t wealthy and didn’t inherit a dime from the slave trade. I’m so glad, Pam, that you picked up on the fact that this doesn’t excuse either of us, since such privileges as that strong family tradition of going to college really make a difference. There’s no need for guilt, since we did nothing to create this situation, but it does suggest, to me, a responsibility to try to make a difference.

  • Keith Hall

    FOREIGNID: 15759
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I watched your program with a certain degree of fascinated detachment. I could agree in principle that in some way, I remotely benefited from slavery and it’s continuing effects even today.
    But, one could say, “Well, look at how the Indian nations in the United States were deprived of their lands, and how for national security, American Japanese were sent off to detention camps during world war II, and….”
    Perhaps, it is easier to acknowledge other issues than to face up to the slavery issue.
    When the issue of restitution comes up, one must agree that a great wrong has been done and something needs to be done. But what kind of restitution?
    Toward the end of the program, I was feeling frustrated at not being able to resolve the question in my mind.
    When you presented the story to the Episcopal congregation, there was the same frustration about what to do.
    But, afterwards when the priest invited any who wished to come forward and receive forgiveness, and the entire assembly came forward, I found myself weeping great tears of relief. I noticed that my daughter and wife also had the same response.
    For me, this was a great lesson about personal forgiveness. And that forgiveness can only come from God.
    When we are forgiven, the quilt question is taken care of and we can effectively address the question of what I might do to make things right.
    I appreciate the program. It helped to face up to the reality of the slavery issue. But for me, the turning point was that forgiveness must from God, then action can flow.
    Keith Hall

  • W. Noel Robbins

    FOREIGNID: 15760
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    It’s 06-26-08 at 0337hrs (CST) in Tulsa, OK, and I’ve just watched an incredible journey. Descendants of one of the most powerful slave-trading families in the US subjected themselves the dark matter within their origins. I watched their experiences unravel their barriers to understanding. I saw the light of full-blown compassion start to glow in their eyes. I saw the pall of rugged and heavy shame age their poor faces as they witnessed the damage wrought from their family’s disgrace against fellow humans. As I watched, I was beset with mixed emotions. First, I felt the immediate and ever-present grief for my own ancestors, many of whom were snatched from their homelands, sold as property, and whose descendants were multi-generationally branded as less than human. As the story unfolded, I then recognized within myself the beginning of a relief of sorts. Out loud, I welcomed the nearly-mute Episcopalian fellowship to whom you spoke into the human family as conscious, responsible citizens. I felt the release from emotional and spiritual bondage that “whites” have grown to accept as readily and steadily as “blacks” have been conditioned to accept as their destiny. I honored and deeply appreciated your sincere efforts to touch and be touched by the heinous foundations of this nation in a form of slavery which serves, as one woman stated in the film, as “our own holocaust” (although, most of those ancestors who survived, did so AMONG their perpetrators).
    Simultaneously, I was staggered by the almost seamless transition into the higher, more pure reality of human existence where racism is no longer tolerated, and ‘race’ has no meaning beyond a descriptive word for a singular, wonderfully diverse, HUMAN FAMILY. This is the level of thinking that must be prevalent if we are to work toward completion of this stage of ideological, political, and societal evolution. Racism is founded upon the idea that there is, by definition, more than one human family; it is an poorly shaped idea that there are at least two types of people who, if mated, could not reproduce live and fruitful offspring. Like an infectious disease, racism as a concept permeates all that we do, see, and transmit to other nations. As a student of human diversity by way of culture, I’ve learned that race as a valid distinction among people is gravely unhealthy to the human spirit and inadvertently supportive of the very social demons we mean to exorcise from society such as inter-ethnic anger, rage, mistrust, and fear. Race as a social reality is borne directly from the idea that the ‘master’ must be separate in some measureable and universally recognized way from ‘servant’.
    A world where ‘race’ as a valid distinction among humans and where racism is tolerated will only be transformed when most of us understand that there is only one human race. Culture and ethnicity, like geography, climate, and language, are the only divisions which make sense; all of them are fluid differences which ultimately mean nothing compared to the solid gifts that we share because of human diversity: the fantastic multiplicity of potential solutions to the variety and severity of modern human problems.
    Thank you, Ms. Browne and company, for the blessing all of your efforts have yielded from the terror of this nation’s past. I want to let you know that, from the bottom of my heart, you have indeed done your ancestors proud. You and your team had the courage to go to this awesome nation’s great, dark, inner space and unlock the enormous reserves of love within the minds and hearts of those who heard and will hear you. Please know that the healing has begun in earnest. It’s been a long time coming…welcome home.
    W. Noel Robbins

  • BILLY GONZALEZ

    FOREIGNID: 15761
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    40 acres and a mule? Yankees stole 5000 acres from my family.
    We came from Sweden in 1868 and bought this land from former slaves who were left this land in Jeffersonville, Georgia.
    Carpet baggers took our land in 1871 and we fled to South Texas.
    Can we receive money back for our land now owned by welfare Blacks?
    Now I know why the South left the Union.
    No wonder whites are distrustful of racist blacks.
    60 years of democrats controling congress and blacks are still poor.
    Billy

  • Joshua-Michael

    FOREIGNID: 15762
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Perhaps the most profound statement of this interesting film would be it’s reference to the educational relationship between historical accuracy and patriotic pride. Such a conflict stands like an elephant in a church. Who has an answer?
    The actual economic legacy of American racism is a result of post WW-II red-lining by banks and mortgage lenders. Red-lining is the direct cause of any continuing circle of poverty and inner city decay experienced by those Americans ‘not chosen’, or ‘less worthy’ for the gainful opportunities of “liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, for ethic or any other reason. The legacy of slavery was the acceptance and execution of red-lining. The still destructive legacy of red-lining lives with everyone, everyday. No American somebody is exempt.
    I live in Providence RI, and work in Bristol. For me this film hits home.

  • D. David Clemons

    FOREIGNID: 15763
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Katrina, you were very courageous to look into the abyss of your family’s prticipation in the slave trade: at 11,000,000 souls torn from their roots in Africa to become slaves, the whole, depraved enterprise was truly an American holocaust. Your film closed with a haunting text sung by Johnny Cash. The message it conveyed was so terrifically apt. Could you send me the full text or tell me how I could obtain or download this amazing song? Thanks and keep up the good work. Shalom+ David Clemons

  • mhd dooley

    FOREIGNID: 15764
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Have both a comment and question about TRACES of the TRADE.
    1. How was the decision to contact Charles Ogletree made..?
    by the family group or an outside advisor..
    Feel it was the best choice possible..Do wonder if other viewpoints were sought or considered :
    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (for example)
    I believe I understood the enormous inequity and deprivation of enslavement for the first time, after viewing African American Lives and African American Lives 2. in which the lineage of notable African Americans is traced using genealogical
    resources and DNA testing. In the first series, Gates learns of his White ancestry(50%), and in the second installment we learn he is descended from the Irish King, Niall of the Nine Hostages.
    He also learns that he is descended in part from the Yoruba people of Nigeria.
    That the ancestors of many of these notable citizens accomplished even a percentage of what was revealed seemed not just remarkable, but miraculous.
    It was my thinking at the time that if every middle school child was extended the privilege of seeing these documentaries, accompanied by guided discussion with staff from the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.via video conference or even an in-depth commentary of the motivation, purpose and/or expected outcome(s) most of the seeds for understanding would be promulgated in many homes.
    “Skip” Gates educational resources would be another valuable adjunct.
    The expansive and inclusive nature of their body of work, as well as their largesse in sharing the results and willingness to continue the quest is more than an answer or solution; it is a priceless gift.
    Best regards,
    mdd

  • Juliette G. Blount

    FOREIGNID: 15765
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I am a mother of an 18 month old so I never watch T.V. programs at their regularly scheduled time. I’m a P.O.V./ Independent Lens junkie and just got a chance to watch Traces of the Trade this past weekend. It was excellent! Just the type of activities and conversations that white people need to participate in to finally take responsibility for their own ‘stuff’ as it pertains to race, racism and white privilege. I was so excited that I wanted to tell everyone I knew to watch it but noticed that there are no plans to rebroadcast the show. Please air this documentary again. There are so many people who can benefit from the message.

  • http://www.fullframeimages.com Robert M Johnson

    FOREIGNID: 15766
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    “Browne and her relatives fly to Ghana”
    I work along side a recent immigrant and new American citizen from Ghana. We have had many discussions about the roots of slavery. After watching your film, I apologized to him as an American for slavery and for the impact that it had on him personally. His face lite up as he thanked me.
    My site Full Frame Images has documentary images of life in the 70′s. If you have a free moment please take a peek…

  • J Voos

    FOREIGNID: 15767
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    While I enjoyed watching the film and learning about American history, I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps your family does have alot of terrible history with which to deal.
    But I know my family’s background, and how life was unfair for them, how they were uprooted from their homes, all their possessions taken, and the fruits of their labors taken. Is it a black story or white? It doesn’t matter. What matters is how we live our lives individually every day. We all know when we are taking advantage of others deep inside. The family members using their historical connections to continue the Ivy League heritage? Look at corporate boards today. How many of them are made up of Harvard or Stanford or Yale grads. Are they the only ones qualified?
    Don’t we have the same story today with our “Free Trade” economy? Americans profiting on the backs of slave workers in China? The solutions are harder than “I am sorry and here is a check.” It starts with the morality and Integrity we apply in every decision we make in our lives, however small.

  • WILLIAM JOHNSON

    FOREIGNID: 15768
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    DEAR MS. BROWNE,
    YOUR FILM WAS A MOST MOVING DOCUMENTARY EXPERIENCES; RIGHT UP THERE WITH “SLAVES IN THE FAMILY” BY EDWARD BALL. IT EXPOSED, SO VIVIDLY, THE PAIN, THE LIES, AND THE ENORMOUS DIFICULTY OF COMING TO GRIPS WITH THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY.
    I AM OF MIXED HERITAGE, AND AM IN THE PROCESS OF WRITING A BOOK ABOUT ONE OF MY ANCESTORS WHO CAME FROM GERMANY AND MARRIED MY AFRICAN-AMERICAN GRANDFATHER, NEAR THE TURN OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. WHAT STRIKES ME AS SO FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED ABOUT THE WAY WE VIEW ONE ANOTHER, IS SOMETHING THAT I FELT WAS LACKING IN YOUR FILM. AS I WATCHED, AND I’VE SEEN IT TWICE, I WANTED TO REACH INTO THE TV AND SHAKE EVERONE THERE, AND SAY TO YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE, THAT UNTIL WE STOP VIEWING AND THINKING OF ONE ANOTHER AS DIFFERENT, THAT IS AS BLACK AND WHITE AND RED AND YELLOW, AND START THINKING OF ONE ANOTER AS HUMAN BEINGS, ONE AND ALL, WE ARE NEVER GOING TO MAKE ANY PROGRESS TOWARD RECONCILIATION, OR UNDERSTANDING.
    AS JAMES BALDWIN PUT IT, AS LONG AS YOU THINK OF YOURSELF AS WHITE, YOU FORCE ME TO THINK OF MY SELF AS BLACK. I AM NOT A RACE AND NEITHER ARE YOU. WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS, MORE ALIKE THAN MANY OF US ARE WILLING TO ADMIT. AND IF WE THOUGHT IN THIS MANNER, WE WOULDN’T DO THE THINGS TO ONE ANOTHER THAT WE DO.
    AS AN INTERRACIAL PERSON, I KNOW SOMETHING THAT OTHER PEOPLE WHO THINK OF THEMSELVES AS ONE OR THE OTHER DO NOT KNOW, AND THAT IS THAT WE ARE ALL THE SAME! IT IS A LONELY POSITION TO ASSUME, BECAUSE GROUPS WANT TO PLACE YOU IN ONE CAMP OR THE OTHER. THAT IS WHY WE CANNOT MAKE ANY PROGRESS IN THIS REGARD.
    I WOULD LOVE TO SPEAK WITH YOU, AND MAYBE EVEN MEET WITH YOU AT SOME POINT. AND I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A COPY OF YOUR FILM TO USE IN MY EFFORTS TO BRING PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS TOGETHER. IF POSSIBLE, PLEASE CONTACT ME AT MY EMAIL ADDRESS:
    AMCWMJ2@PACBELL.NET, OR MY PHONE NUMBER: (415) 666-3109.
    ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE WORK OF TIM WISE? HE IS THE AUTHOR OF “WHITE LLIKE ME” AND “WHEN RACE BECOMES REAL”. HIS INSIGHTS ARE MARVELOUS, AND MIGHT HELP YOU IN YOUR WORK.
    I THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR YOUR WONDERFUL FILM. YOUR HONESTY AND SINCERITY ARE TO BE COMMENDED. THEIR ARE MANY GOOD PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD, AND WE MUST DO OUR BEST TO BAND TOGETHER AND REACH OUT TO ONE ANOTHER, AND EDUCATE ONE ANOTHER. I KNOW HOW IT FELT TO HAVE YOUR ATTEMPTS TO REACH OUT REJECTED: IT IS TERRIBLY PAINFUL! AND THERE ARE MANY, AND LEGITIMATE REASONS FOR DOUBTING THE SINCERITY OF OTHERS; BUT DO NOT DISPAIR, THERE ARE OTHER HANDS WHO WILL REACH BACK. IGNORANCE KNOWS NO COLOR BARRIER; NOR DOES INTELLECT
    WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION,
    WILLIAM JOHNSON

  • Tom Hartman

    FOREIGNID: 15769
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Would at least one of you in the film group care to share your thoughts regarding Obama’s speech on race? I think this would be a very valuable contribution.

  • Tom Hartman

    FOREIGNID: 15770
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Would at least one of you in the film group care to share your thoughts in some detail regarding Obama’s speech on race? I think this would be a very valuable contribution. How can we set up a national conversation that works?

  • http://blog.jdewperry.com James DeWolf Perry

    FOREIGNID: 15771
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Tom, I’ll address your question from one particular angle. I think the most valuable aspect of Obama’s speech on race was his willingness to acknowledge that both sides of the racial divide have an honest and legitimate perspective which needs to be respected.
    Obama was addressing the fact that many Americans were appalled at a brief portion of Rev. Wright’s sermon. He didn’t simply condemn the remarks as beyond the pale. Instead, he asked why those Americans weren’t able to see that the sermon in question also praised the United States at length, and couldn’t see any legitimacy to the continued anger and resentment which Wright was expressing.
    This led Obama to acknowledge that given our history and present situation with regard to race, many blacks feel some degree of anger, suspicion, and resentment. There are still white Americans who don’t understand this fact, or the reasons for it, and at a minimum, these feelings need to be understood and addressed.
    Meanwhile, Obama also noted that there is a degree of anger, suspicion, and resentment on the part of some white Americans, who feel wrongly accused and treated with injustice on matters of race. This viewpoint, too, has a legitimate basis, even if it often also reflects misconceptions about the state of race relations in this country.
    The way forward towards a national conversation starts with acknowledging these feelings, and understanding that both sides have a legitimate perspective born of their respective experiences.
    The next step would be to educate both sides to better understand why the other’s perspective has legitimacy, so we can come to a common understanding that incorporates the diversity of experiences in our nation and allows us to begin healing and addressing solutions.

  • Eugene McCarthy

    FOREIGNID: 15772
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I enjoyed the show immensely. It was moving, informative, and very emotional. Could you tell me the title of the Johnny Cash song near the end of the film? I would very much like to obtain this CD. Eugene McCarthy

  • Jeff P

    FOREIGNID: 15773
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    1. I have no intention whatsoever of prostrating myself before the alter of white guilt. Nor will I help perpetuate the modern slavery of black helplessness and victimization, which too often destroys the confidence of young blacks and gives them an easy excuse when they fail. We are all Americans. Period. No one alive today has been slave or master. No one alive today is plaintiff or defendant. True equality means that I can be just as proud of my white culture as blacks are of theirs. They have just as many skeletons in their closet as we do. And I am proud of my culture, despite slavery our virtues still outweigh our sins.
    2. Can I sue the Italians because my white ancestors where enslaved by the Romans? How long is the cut-off time? Will the Black chiefs in Africa be sued because their ancestors captured and sold the slaves? I doubt it very seriously. And that fact exposes the true motive here. This isn’t about reconciliation, this is about black wealth at the expense of whites.

  • susie shaw r.i. resident

    FOREIGNID: 15774
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I want to know who will stand up to Rhode Island & remove that “awful” word “Plantation”, on every legal Rhode island house title, deed, etc Is it becasue this state is so small that Congress wasnt told? I’m from Mass & when I moved to Pawtucket, I couldnt believe my eyes. PLEASE HELP me get this off. I have already emailed the State reps.

  • S Wray Jr

    FOREIGNID: 15775
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I saw the program but in my mind, the Civil War paid the price for the sins of Slavery. It is the sins of the “Jim Crow” period that white america needs to address !! The extending the benefits of liberty, then denying them was just as bad as profiting from the selling of slaves !
    America’s problem in the next 25 years won’t be race but “Class”, the problems of the “Have’s vs the Have Not’s ” !

  • http://www.orgamu.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5&sid=d48ec93eea75898dcaf349fad528af3a Ron Peden

    FOREIGNID: 15776
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Having watched the movie for about the fourth time the other day, I frankly think it’s nothing more than the same old White supremacy propaganda that’s dominated this country (and the entire Western world) since the middle ages, by basically taking everything and putting a White face on it.
    Traces of the Trade, in my opinion, does nothing so much as posit a White, Rhode Island family, the DeWolfs, caught up in the African slave trade, as victims, presumably for having their perceived, Euro/Anglo good name sullied by slavery. Aside from the demonization of Blacks, a time-honored, multi-faceted staple of White supremacy propaganda, on at least one level this deflects focus from the deadly suffering and torment of slavery’s true victims, to the shame of Whites for having caused it, as if there’s any comparison. The danger (intention?) of this is two-fold: it minimizes the perceived need for slavery Reparations by showing the impact of the institution on Whites was also significant, and it discourages/dissuades notions of accountability from this DeWolf family particularly (which goes to great lengths in the film to state that family monetary gains from America’s peculiar institution were supposedly “squandered” long ago) for their historical involvement with slavery, and from individual slave holders and traders generally.
    I’ve met the DeWolf’s personally and nothing is more clear to me than that they’re on a campaign, of which Traces of the Trade is a significant part, designed to preclude a movement against the family for monetary accountability and compensation. Their whole focus, as far as slavery is concerned, is on the DeWolfs and other Whites. But, despite their family involvement, that’s just wrong. . . .
    Ron Peden, author of [i]NOTES ON THE STATE OF AMERICA: Black to the Future, or White From the Past?[/i]