Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery


Product Details

University of North Carolina Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.2 X 0.7 inches | 0.84 pounds

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About the Author

Heather Andrea Williams, a former attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and the New York State Attorney General's Office, is assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


I highly recommend [this book] for shining its spotlight on a seldom-considered source, the 'Information Wanted' advertisements, and for Williams' masterful focus on the emotional toll of U.S. slavery on those held in its

A stirring account of the emotional cost of separation during slavery. . . . Williams's richly textured analysis contributes greatly to the history of emotions, slavery, the Old South, and family history studies.--H-Net Reviews

An excellent book. . . . [that] should be added to everyone's library in the hope that these sad events will act as a constant reminder that we need to be kind and thoughtful to everyone as we are all Americans now.--Lone Star Book Review

Williams examines the historical fact of family separation and renders its emotional truth. She is the rare scholar who writes history with such tenderness that her words can bring a reader to tears. . . . [The book] has a propulsive narrative flow, and with each successive chapter the suppleness of Williams's prose grows.--New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

[Williams] retraces the journey of freed African-Americans through one of their most harrowing experiences after emancipation--finding their family members.--Carolina Alumni Review

[A] fine new book. . . . A broadly ranging study. . . . Help Me to Find My People. . . provides opportunities for remembering that the continued existence of slavery for centuries depended on whites learning to rationalize guilty feelings by pretending (or even believing) that African Americans did not feel family separations deeply.--Women's Review of Books

William's descriptions of scenes of mother and children being separated and sold to different owners are heartrending persuasion that the worst part of the horrible American system of slavery was not the backbreaking work.--North Carolina Bookwatch

[Help Me To Find My People] deserves an important place in [the Black History] annals.--DG Martin, Durham Herald-Sun