The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

To honor Frederick Douglass’ 200th birthday, the nonprofit Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives set forth to print and distribute one million copies of Douglass’ historic slave narrative. They initially had no idea how they would generate public interest. Then Donald Trump was quoted saying, “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.”  Suddenly Ken Morris, a descendant of Douglass and co-founder of the nonprofit, was fielding non-stop calls from the press, and his history lesson for the president went viral.

Photo of sculpture of bodies in bondage
Courtesy of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center at UNC

For artist Toni Scott, the question of where her family is from has no simple answer. Years of comprehensive research conducted by her and her family showed that some of her ancestors were slave-owners, others were slaves, and still others were gifted land by the U.S. government after they marched down the Trail of Tears.

Edwidge Danticat
Wilfredo Lee / AP - 2017

Edwidge Danticat is a renowned Haitian-American writer whose work is rooted in her native country.