Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Slaves in the Family
Edward Ball's ancestor came to America and started plantations near the Atlantic coast, growing rice. They used slaves from Africa to do the plantation work. At one point, the family owned several plantations in the same area of South Carolina. They owned thousands of slaves. They also fought to keep their slaves in the Civil War.
Knowing this, Ball set out to connect with the descendants of those slaves that he was able to track down by perusing family documents and historical records. In several cases, he was able to find these people and give them the information he was able to gather about their ancestors and from their family lore piece together more of the story of their ancestors' history, even to the probable location their African origins.
Not surprisingly, he also figured out that his ancestors had mixed race children from informal liaisons with their female slaves. Ball was able to track down some of the descendants of these relationships, people who are distantly related to himself.
He encountered some anger but he also gave people a better understanding of their own personal history and this valuable information was welcomed by the families.
This was a very informative read as it goes quite deeply into the slave-owning experience of the author's own family. And his interviews with the descendants were touching to read. It's a long book and I must admit I got a bit bored with it towards the end. But I do feel it is a worthwhile book to read.
For another review, see http://www.thedailybeast.com/if-you-only-read-one-book-about-the-legacy-of-slavery-slaves-in-the-family.