ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — A new statewide database is helping African Americans learn about the history of their enslaved ancestors.
"We need to know their names, we need to know where they lived and because they are public records, this is a government transparency issue,” said Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger. “We need to have all the names of those who were enslaved in one easily searchable place."
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After the success of the initial cataloging of Buncombe County slave deeds, Reisinger partnered with the North Carolina Office of Archives and History and UNC Greensboro to secure a National Archives grant that would further this groundbreaking and important work.
“This initiative is made exponentially more impactful to be statewide and even nationally, because slaves were bought and sold across county and state lines,” notes Reisinger.
The database includes 50,000 names from 12 other North Carolina counties that will help African Americans learn more about their past.
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The project was possible in part by a $294,000 grant.
While Reisinger and his fellow research team are hopeful the additional names help families and archivists, he’s looking to expand the project even further with hopes of this clear proof of concept will begin to garner more grant money.
You can search thousands of slave deeds and their images via the Digital Library on American Slavery HERE. For more information on the initial Buncombe County slave deeds project, click HERE.