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New Book by Former County Commish Tom DeWolf

So what's Tom Dewolf -- former Deschutes County Commissioner and good friend of mine -- been up to since leaving public office? He has written a book entitled Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History. Quoting the Amazon.com description:

A trailblazing memoir about one family's quest to face its slave-trading past, and an urgent call for reconciliation

In 2001, at age forty-seven, Thomas DeWolf was horrified to discover that he was related to the most successful slave-trading family in United States history, responsible for transporting at least 10,000 Africans. His most infamous ancestor, U.S. senator James DeWolf of Bristol, Rhode Island, curried favor with Thomas Jefferson to continue in the trade after it was outlawed. When he died in 1837 he was reportedly the second-richest man in America.

When DeWolf's cousin, Katrina Browne, learned about their family's history, she was consumed with guilt. However, unlike others who might ignore their sordid legacy, she resolved to confront it head-on. Browne produced and directed a documentary feature film, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, in which she, Tom, and eight other family members retraced the steps of their ancestors and uncovered the hidden history of New England and the other northern states. Inheriting the Trade is Thomas DeWolf's powerful and disarmingly honest memoir of their journey.

It sounds like a fascinating book, as does the companion documentary Traces of the Trade which will be debuting at the Sundance Film Festival in January. More information on the book is available here.

Posted by Jake on 12/18/07 @ 10:23 PM
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