Good God, who in the world wants to think about slave markets when they do their genealogy? It is a most unpleasant thought. We all know though, that those “markets” existed. On a New Orleans building in 1895, the sign was still there… Slaves for Sale. You would think someone would have at least painted over it. It’s not like it was an ad for aftershave or soda pop. And it had been about thirty years since the end of the war. Ironically, a black man bought the building and ran it as a hotel.
Abraham Lincoln visited one of those slave markets and because he did not like what he saw, slavery ended with the Civil War. When he was young, Abe went down the Mississippi River on a flat boat loaded with produce. After he sold his produce, he went to a slave mart with an acquaintance named Hanks. After they left, Abe was angrier than hell. “Hanks,” he said, “if ever I get a chance to hit that thing, I’ll hit it hard, by the ever living God.”
If you’re searching for black ancestry, the signs of slavery are everywhere. I don’t know if you ever get used to it. But if you have anything pertaining to slaves or slavery to bring to the genealogical field; family letters, wills, oral history… please, please, please share it. We owe it to those who are unable to tell their own stories.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy – A How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy II – Uncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, Secret Genealogy III – From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians, Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees. Available here:
Secret Genealogy II: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-II-Christian-Ancestors/dp/1484053222
Secret Genealogy III: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-III-Jewish-Anglo-Saxon-Acadians/dp/148407579X
Secret Genealogy IV: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105