Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My First Attempt At A Wordless Wednesday

I received this document in the mail the other day from fellow genealogist Johnie Lee in Red River County, Texas. It came from a property tax book that was discovered a few years ago in the basement of the courthouse. The document shows a Robt F. Whitaker making an oath regarding his taxable property in 1854. Among the items he listed was a slave man (Taff) age 19 valued at $900, a slave girl (Juliet) age 7 valued at $400 and a slave girl (Mary) age 5 valued at $300.The girl Juliet is my great great grandmother and Mary is her sister.

Although this is not the first document I discovered which list my enslaved ancestors, I am always speechless when I do discover or locate such documents. These documents put a face to the institution of chattel slavery.They are no longer just "slaves" - individuals with no identity outside of being enslaved. They are men and women with a family, history, and identity. And it is my responsibility to recover this history and identity so that future generations will know their names and cast away the notion of an anonymous slave.

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