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Hybrid Event: Introducing 10 Million Names

February 12, 2024

Join us virtually or in-person in Boston! Hear from Dr. Vincent Brown, Dr. Kendra Field, and Dr. Kerri Greenidge, members of the 10 Million Names scholars council, as they share histories and legacies of slavery in New England, the ongoing research of the 10 Million Names project, and ways to get involved.

Free Video: Finding Enslaved African American Ancestors in New England

Recorded February 1, 2024

Cities like Boston and Newport were important ports for the transatlantic slave trade, with ships bringing enslaved Africans to be sold throughout the colonies. While slavery had largely disappeared in New England by the early 19th century, the legacy of this institution had a lasting impact on the region's economic and social development.

Why Is this Project Important?

People want to know where they came from. Knowing the names, origins, and life stories of one’s ancestors can be life-changing.

Click the play button on the left to watch a video presentation about the 10 Million Names Project and the impact that this research will have on African American family history.

 

Dorothy Tucker speaking with Lindsay Fulton

About 10 Million Names

From Kendra Taira Field, Ph.D., the Chief Historian of 10 Million Names. In this article, Dr. Field writes about 10 Million Names from a historical perspective.

Introducing Richard Cellini, Founding Executive Director of 10 Million Names

Richard Cellini is the Founding Director of the 10 Million Names Project. He is also the Director of the Harvard Slavery Remembrance Program. Previously, he founded and led the Georgetown Memory Project, an independent research initiative that identified more than 10,000 descendants of enslaved people.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of the popular PBS series Finding Your Roots, and a member of the 10 Million Names Advisory Board, discusses the impact and importance of the project.

Gates has produced and hosted an array of documentary films. The Black Church (PBS) and Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches (HBO), which he executive produced, each received Emmy nominations. His latest history series for PBS is Making Black America: Through the GrapevineFinding Your Roots, Gates’s groundbreaking genealogy and genetics series, has completed its ninth season on PBS and will return for a tenth season in 2024.

Skip Gates headshot

Spotlight on Stories

Henry B. Freeman's Story

In the early 19th century, New Bedford provided many opportunities in the maritime industry that appealed to formerly enslaved people across the Diaspora. Joining the crew of a whaling ship was especially attractive, as the long voyages at sea could help formerly enslaved men avoid recapture. One such crew member was Henry B. Freeman. Born in Smithfield, North Carolina, he arrived in New Bedford during the 1830s.

Cato Freedom's Story

A soldier in the Revolutionary War, Cato Freedom applied for an Army pension in the 1820s. The documentation from his application provides rare first hand insight into the post-war life of a Black Revolutionary soldier.

Common Myths

Common Myths About Slavery in America

by Meaghan E.H. Siekman, PhD

After many years of studying enslaved ancestors, I have identified a number of common myths about slavery in America. This article counters those myths with facts. A clear understanding of the realities of the past is essential to navigating records and appreciating the historical context of our ancestors’ lives. Knowledge about the history of slavery can also lay the framework for better insight into many of our current legal and social systems.

MYTH: “There were very few free Black people in the South.”

By examining laws in the South, a different story emerges about the number of free people of color who lived in the region prior to emancipation. Laws are proposed and enacted in response to perceived problems, and laws that restricted the rights of free people of color suggest the existence of a substantial free Black population.

Read more about this, and other myths about slavery in America.

10 Million Names in the News