African-American kinship often starts with slavery, an institution built on human trafficking – the buying and selling of people as if they were commodities. The tearing apart of family was part of the violence of slavery and the constant threat of separation from your family was another kind of violence all its own. Historian Heather Williams studies the effects and after effects of slavery.
In her new book, "Help Me To Find My People: The African-American Search for Family Lost in Slavery" (The University of North Carolina Press/2012), she considers the efforts of formerly enslaved people to reconnect with their lost loved ones to be as profound a symbol of hope as slavery is of despair. Williams joins host Frank Stasio in the studio to discuss family and history.