Help Me to Find My People

The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery
Original Publish Date: Aug 24, 2012
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (9.85 hours)
Product Number: Z100087797
Released: Jan 27, 2015
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781624609350
Narrator/s: Robin Miles
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After the Civil War, African Americans placed poignant "information wanted" advertisements in newspapers, searching for missing family members. Inspired by the power of these ads, Heather Andrea Williams uses slave narratives, letters, interviews, public records, and diaries to guide listeners back to devastating moments of family separation during slavery when people were sold away from parents, siblings, spouses, and children. Williams explores these heartbreaking stories and the long, usually unsuccessful journeys toward reunification. Examining the interior lives of the enslaved and freed people as they tried to come to terms with great loss, Williams grounds their grief, fear, anger, longing, frustration, and hope in the history of American slavery and the domestic slave trade. Williams follows those who were separated, chronicles their searches, and documents the rare experience of reunion. She also explores the empathy, sympathy, indifference, and hostility expressed by whites about sundered black families. Williams shows how searches for family members in the post-Civil War era continue to reverberate in African American culture in the ongoing search for family history and connection across generations.

Professional reviews

"History, as we are reminded by this book, is told from the perspective of those with power. Robin Miles's confident oratorical style gives the listener a sense of empowerment regarding the attempts of African-Americans to recover their family histories lost through the institution of slavery. Miles's tone is crisp, her pace steady, and her style journalistic, all of which suit the theme set out by the author. Though full of facts and minute biographical details, Miles's evenly paced reading draws the listener into the personal aspects of these stories. She differentiates between the male and female recollections by changes in tone. She also creates successful narrative personas to delineate the journal entries, reported dialogue, and overall narrative text. M.R. (c) AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine"