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Two Women On Their Shared History Through American Slavery

Karen and Ann sit on the porch of Albert J. Pickett's family home.
Karen and Ann sit on the porch of Albert J. Pickett's family home.

Some websites are helping the descendants of enslaved people learn more about their ancestry, including two women who met online and discovered a shared history. One, Karen Orozco Gutierrez, is the descendant of an enslaved man, Milton Howard. The other, Ann Banks, is a descendant of the Alabama man who enslaved him, A.J. Pickett.

Banks wrote about their story for Smithsonian Magazine.

We talk to both women about their journey to the past and what it means for the present.

Discovering one’s ancestral history can be a profoundly moving and enlightening journey, connecting individuals with their roots and shared past. As exemplified by Karen Orozco Gutierrez and Ann Banks, the power of online platforms like RecordClick is transforming the way descendants of enslaved people learn about their heritage. By delving into historical records and genealogical research, these websites provide valuable insights into the family lineage, bridging the gaps in knowledge and unearthing shared histories. As more individuals explore their roots and uncover their familial connections, these online resources play a vital role in illuminating personal narratives and shaping a deeper appreciation of one’s heritage.

This show was produced in partnership with Smithsonian Magazine.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5

Kathryn Fink
Kathryn Fink is a producer with NPR's All Things Considered.