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This writer just traced his enslaved ancestors all the way to Africa. Here’s how.

Rodney Brooks
|
July 11, 2023

I knew little about either side of my family. My mom was from Warrenton, North Carolina and occasionally talked about growing up there. Her dad lived with us for a while. My father, who died at 43, didn’t share much about his family. However, they made sure we knew something of our family history with frequent trips to Baltimore where they had both been raised.

Everything changed in the last year. Newly available records from the National Archives’  Freedman’s Bureau provide earlier and richer data about the American experience, often predating the ”the 1870s wall’ that marked the first appearance of many Black people by name on a U.S. census. 

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Authored By Rodney A. Brooks


TRAFOTFBThe author tells the history of the Freedman’s Savings Bank, how it grew much too quickly, why it failed and the impact on Black America. The Freedman’s Bank offered a safe depository for formerly enslaved people, expanded quickly and gained millions in deposits – mostly ranging from $5 to $50. But inexperience and corruption doomed it to failure, costing may of the small depositors their savings.

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“Rodney A. Brooks’ ‘Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap’ is one of the best written and most prescriptive books I’ve read on this prickly subject. Using powerful stats, stories and insightful wisdom, it is written from the heart, mind, body and spirit … plus years of research and thought as a mainstream journalist, Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap is revealing, humorous, instructive and sobering.” – Dr. George C. Fraser

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