Using New Interracial Family Evidence to Trouble Jim Crow

“Did You Know Yo’ Mama was White?” In this installment, I discuss using new interracial family evidence to trouble Jim Crow. I will use a pseudonym to protect the anonymity of the subject of my critical family history. I am related to the “Kayfred” family of North Carolina by marriage. “Grandpa Kayfred” was a widower and […]

Preparing to Share and Receive Sensitive Family History

“I Don’t Think That’s My Daddy!” Preparing to share and receive sensitive family history is crucial. We talk a lot today in the U.S. about the symptoms of poverty, but little about how families became poor in the first place. Edmund Hughes, my grandfather was not always a poor Black man in Camden, NC, but Old […]

Can Census Data Reveal Racism in Employment?

Recently I was asked whether opportunities were any better for European immigrants in the late 1800s than for freed African Americans in the North. The asker of the question assumed that after the Civil War, opportunities had evened out. I wanted to examine this question with data, and do so specifically with relationship to my own […]

DNA Testing

DNA testing has become an increasingly popular, and gradually more affordable, way to obtain information about one’s genealogy. Several years ago, I completed a DNA test to attempt to verify whether I had Native American ancestry, as I had grown up hearing was the case. It is very easy to locate online companies that do […]

Peopling a White Nation

While it is common knowledge that the Founding Fathers envisioned the U.S. to be white , most of us of European descent avoid (or don’t think about) situating the history of our own families within an intentional project aimed at peopling a white nation. A very common story among white people (not only in the U.S. […]

Racial Categories in the Census

A clear example of the social construction of race are the racial categories in the census.  When sifting through the U.S. census to construct family trees and portraits of ancestors’ neighbors, you will notice that people are always classified by race. You may be tempted to believe that means something fixed, decade after decade. In fact, however, […]

Census Data Show Housing Patterns

Many people, especially white people, assume families generally live wherever they choose and can afford, and have done so for generations. Actually census data show housing patterns — using U.S. Census data, you can examine assumption about who lives where. You may discover patterns you hadn’t anticipated. Take a census page that includes someone in your family tree. […]

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