Humanities in Class: Webinar Series

Help Me to Find My People

Lead Scholar: Heather Andrea Williams (Fellow, 2007–08; Geraldine R. Segal Professorship in American Social Thought and Professor of Africana Studies)

April 6, 2021

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

Subjects: History; Family; African Americans; Slave Narratives; Newspapers