264 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 7 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2836-3
Published: February 2016
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-8265-8
Published: June 2012
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Awards & distinctions
Hurston Wright Legacy Award Nominee
Library of Virginia Literary Award Finalist
Williams follows those who were separated, chronicles their searches, and documents the rare experience of reunion. She also explores the sympathy, indifference, hostility, or empathy expressed by whites about sundered black families. Williams shows how searches for family members in the post-Civil War era continue to reverberate in African American culture in the ongoing search for family history and connection across generations.
About the Author
Heather Andrea Williams is Presidential Term Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom.
For more information about Heather Andrea Williams, visit the Author Page.
"Williams examines the historical fact of family separation and renders its emotional truth. She is the rare scholar who writes history with such tenderness that her words can bring a reader to tears. . . . [The book] has a propulsive narrative flow, and with each successive chapter the suppleness of Williams's prose grows."--New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
“[A] fine new book. . . . A broadly ranging study. . . . Help Me to Find My People. . . provides opportunities for remembering that the continued existence of slavery for centuries depended on whites learning to rationalize guilty feelings by pretending (or even believing) that African Americans did not feel family separations deeply.”--Women’s Review of Books
“[Williams] retraces the journey of freed African-Americans through one of their most harrowing experiences after emancipation--finding their family members.”--Carolina Alumni Review
“William’s descriptions of scenes of mother and children being separated and sold to different owners are heartrending persuasion that the worst part of the horrible American system of slavery was not the backbreaking work.”--North Carolina Bookwatch
“An excellent book. . . . [that] should be added to everyone’s library in the hope that these sad events will act as a constant reminder that we need to be kind and thoughtful to everyone as we are all Americans now.”--Lone Star Book Review
"[Help Me To Find My People] deserves an important place in [the Black History] annals."--DG Martin, Durham Herald-Sun