I talk with Dr. Antoinette Harrell, renowned community activist, genealogist and historian specializing in African American History in Louisiana. For the past two decades she has researched peonage and modern day slavery across sixteen states. This work was featured in the VICE documentary, The Slavery Detective of the South.
Antoinette shares what led her to genealogy, how travel became intertwined with her family history research, and how she began helping others uncover their roots. She also talks about what peonage is, what she is doing to raise awareness about this little known history, recommendations for researching enslaved ancestors, and tips for planning genealogy research trips.
What You’ll Learn
- Why Antoinette started doing genealogy
- How connecting with your family history can lead to meaningful travel experiences
- About the challenges and importance of searching for enslaved ancestors
- About peonage, a form of slavery that continued into 20th century America
- How to navigate difficult emotions that come up as you uncover painful family history
- Where to look for information when researching enslaved ancestors
- General tips for doing genealogy research trips
- The importance of connecting with elders in the communities you travel to
- Why the journey is worth it – have faith in the process and let your intuition guide you
About Antoinette Harrell
Dr. Antoinette Harrell is a renowned genealogist and local historian with an emphasis in African American history in Tangipahoa & St. Helena, Louisiana Parishes. For the past twenty years, she has researched the subject of peonage and modern day slavery in sixteen states. Her peonage research was featured on VICE. Dr. Harrell is also the producer of Nurturing Our Root Genealogy Educational Talk Show. She was appointed as Honorary Attorney General for her dedicated commitment in documenting the study of genealogy in 2003 in the State of Louisiana. Her research has been featured in many media publications, TV News and radio programs nationally and internationally, including People Magazine. Dr. Harrell received the Living Legacy ASALH Award in 2014 for documentary film productions. She is a community activist and organizer in Louisiana.
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