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Presenter: John Philip Colletta
In 1860 close to one out of every four residents of the District of Columbia was a man, woman or child of African descent. Of these people of color, about three-quarters were born free, the others were born into lifelong servitude. Discovering their stories poses peculiar challenges? but may result in a surprise ending. Two families whose legal status changed from chattel property to free citizens demonstrate a variety of public records for identifying and tracing 19th-century people of color in the District of Columbia.