Posted by: Kathleen Cross | June 7, 2008

Slave Traders’ Decendants Face Their Ugly Truth


I want to write something compelling that will make you want to NOT MISS THIS FILM, but every review I attempt does not do this documentary justice, so I’ll just say TUNE IN to PBS and watch this one — You’ll be glad you did.

First-time filmmaker Katrina Browne makes a troubling discovery – her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine fellow descendants set off to retrace the Triangle Trade: from their old hometown in Rhode Island to slave forts in Ghana to sugar plantation ruins in Cuba. Step by step, they uncover the vast extent of Northern complicity in slavery while also stumbling through the minefield of contemporary race relations. In this bicentennial year of the U.S. abolition of the slave trade, “Traces of the Trade” offers powerful new perspectives on the black/white divide. An official selection of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Find out more about this film:…

P.O.V. Blog

Broadcast Date:
June 24, 2008

Clips and Trailers on YouTube:

Find out about local P.O.V. screening events around the country:



  1. Thanks for your support for the film of our family’s journey. We hope many, many people will watch it on PBS. I wanted to pass along links to our two websites for your readers:

    The film’s website:

    The companion book website:

    best wishes,

    Tom DeWolf
    (author of the book/memoir: Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History)

  2. I admire the courage of your family members who agreed to take the journey that was so beautifully documented in Traces of the Trade.

    The film’s straightforwardness and sincerity jumps off the screen. I really appreciated that dinner table conversation in which you challenged your Ivy League cousin to explore the idea of educational privilege.

    Very powerful stuff. I look forward to reading your book.

  3. […] from the always thoughtful and thought-provoking blog, Know Good White People, comes this plea: I want to write something compelling that will make you want to NOT MISS THIS […]

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