This past Tuesday evening, June 24th, I was flipping channels since most commercial television bores me to death and we only have "poor people's TV" aka "no cable." I stumbled upon what looked like a documentary being narrated by a very depressed sounding female voice.
I thought to myself, "Wow - this sounds like it isn't much fun," but continued to watch since it involved genealogy and family history. But as the film pulled me in, I realized - and appreciated - the tone with which Katrina Browne narrated this visual depiction of her family's history.
Traces of the Trade is more than just a documentary - I liken it more to a "family history project" - sort of what many of us genealogists and genea-bloggers do to make our own family history seem more alive and 3-dimensional. But Katrina and the other relatives depicted so artfully by the co-producer Juanita Brown don't shy away from a dark and dirty secret: their ancestors were involved with the slave trade for a long period of time in the 18th and 19th centuries and were responsible for transporting slaves from Ghana to the New World.
I strongly recommend that everyone - whether you are involved with family history - or not - take time to look up your local PBS listings for this amazing documentary.
The evidence of my family's involvement with the slave trade has been a topic that has fascinated me for years but I have really not put much effort into its research. Perhaps it is due to my fear of finding the same type of evidence that Katrina and her family uncovered. I can only hope that if and when I do find such evidence, that I can re-tell the story as eloquently as the Traces of The Trade team has done.