(Louisville, KY) On Wednesday, February 8th, Louisville-based non-profit organization Reckoning Inc. will participate in an event at the Frazier History Museum entitled Help Me Find My People: How Archival Documents Can Connect African Americans to Enslaved Ancestors. The event will be held from 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m at the Frazier History Museum, 829 W. Main Street.
For African Americans researching their ancestry, it is a huge challenge to find information about ancestors who lived prior to 1870, the first year that formerly-enslaved Black people appeared by name in the U.S. Census. At the Frazier Museum event, Reckoning, Inc. will discuss a huge breakthrough that is unlocking information and helping Black families to find their enslaved ancestors, thanks to a new collaboration between Nelson County historian Charles Lemons and Reckoning, Inc. Lemons is the former curator of the Patton Museum at Ft. Knox.
For the past 12 years, Lemons has traveled across the state visiting county courthouses and other archives seeking the names and family relationships of Black people who were enslaved in Kentucky. In 2022, Reckoning, Inc. learned of Lemons’ activities and approached him about publishing his work online and collaborating on future research, built upon Reckoning’s previous research into Kentucky’s Black Civil War soldiers. Thanks to a grant from the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, Reckoning, Inc. has begun the process of publishing his research on its website, reckoninginc.org, and using it to further its mission to explore the lives of Kentucky’s enslaved people and their descendants.
At this event, Charles Lemons, along with staff and volunteers of Reckoning Inc., will discuss the research they have done so far and how it will help African Americans to break through the “brick wall” of 1870 and learn the identities of their enslaved ancestors.
Dan Gediman, Executive Director of Reckoning Inc. says “We have worked for the last several years working to connect the dots. We are now ready to introduce to the public what we have been able to find. It gives African Americans, particularly those here in Kentucky, a way to connect back to their loved ones. We invite you to come out, learn, and ask questions in hopes of your family being able to connect the dots.”
Rachel Platt, Director of Community Engagement says “We are thrilled to partner with Reckoning, Inc. on this program, and highlight this ongoing research. It’s information that can be life-changing for thousands of families by opening doors about their ancestry. It dovetails perfectly into our programming entitled, Bridging the Divide.”
The panel of guests include:
Dan Gediman, Executive Director, Reckoning, Inc.
Abby Posey, Research Director, Reckoning, Inc.
Jackie Burrell, Volunteer Genealogical Researcher, Reckoning, Inc.
Charles Lemons, Military Historian
To register for the program, go to https://www.fraziermuseum.org/calendar/help-me-find-my-people
To learn more about Reckoning Inc go to www.reckoninginc.org.
If you would like to setup an interview and/or cover the event contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications,.com or call 502-341-7306.
Reckoning, Inc. is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to examine the legacy of slavery in America, and to create ways for communities to engage with this information through research projects, media productions, educational curricula, online content, and other means.
Reckoning, Inc. receives funding from the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, Gheens Foundation, Community Foundation of Louisville, LG&E and KU Foundation, David A. Jones, Jr., and Mary Gwen Wheeler, Hardscuffle Inc., Metro United Way, National Endowment for the Humanities, American Historical Association, and the Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation.